PDVSA’s sad third place

Every year, AméricaEconomía releases a ranking of the 500 largest companies from Latin America. This year, 5 of the 10 biggest companies in the region are part of the oil/natural gas industry.

The semi-public Brazilian multinational energy company, PETROBRAS, came at number 1. And the Mexican state-owned petroleum company, PEMEX, came at number 2.

Venezuela’s own PDVSA comes at number 3. This is quite a fall from the top post it held for several years.

TOP 10 Source: AméricaEconomía

TOP 10 Source: AméricaEconomía

Venezuela has 19 times more oil reserves than Brazil. In 1998, Venezuela’s oil production more than tripled Brazil’s. Fifteen years later, Brazil doubled its oil production, mostly from deepwater drilling and ultra-deepwater drilling (meaning –respectively- more and WAY more complicated and expensive drilling than our Faja). By 2013, PETROBRAS reports production levels a mere 900 thousand barrels per day below the reported production of PDVSA. And according to the ranking, PETROBRAS still managed to exceed PDVSA’s sales by US$ 13bln.

Venezuela has 26 times more oil reserves than Mexico. Since 1998, Mexico’s oil reserves have fallen by 49%, while Venezuela’s oil reserves grew 292%. In 1998, Mexico and Venezuela had a similar oil production of over 3.4 million barrels per day. Fifteen years later, both countries produce less oil – Mexico, because of aging oil wells, Venezuela, because Rafa. By 2013, PEMEX produced 300 thousand barrels of crude oil per day less than PDVSA. However, according to the ranking, PEMEX sales surpassed PDVSA’s by US$ 6.6bln.

CrudeOilProduction_BrMexVzla_1998-2013For the country with the largest proven oil reserves in the world, facing no huge technological challenge to extract them, after 10 years of rising prices, with no expectations for prices to fall in the near future, and counting one hundred years of experience in the oil business: WE´RE DOING SOMETHING WRONG!

“Potencia Energética”?giphyYou can check more about the results PDVSA registered in 2013 (in Spanish) in the hands of Rafael Ramírez (in English).

And kudos to Brazil and Mexico: not only do they have the top 2 companies in the ranking, but also have 64% of the companies in the ranking: Brazil has 201, and Mexico 118.

Venezuela only has 3, in case you were wondering.

9 thoughts on “PDVSA’s sad third place

  1. It is also a little depressing to see how much the region still relies on taking things out of the ground. It would be nice to see more innovation, technology, services, manufacturing, etc.


  2. My gut feeling is that the Chavistas are robbing the country and they know it cannot go on forever. They are interested in maximizing their short term gains (thefts) only. This means no investments to maintain oil production levels, no openness in PDVSA finances, no dissent, and no interest on how the country of Venezuela as a whole benefits from its oil reserves. Falling petroleum income is the result.


  3. Around the year 2000 I read in a German newspaper, Handelsblatt, that POLAR was the largest company in Latin America in food production.
    It would be great to see how Venezuela was doing back then or in 1998 as a whole – thus not only POLAR. I am sure it was doing much much much much better


    • Production numbers of industries in 1998 vs now.

      Coffee, for example, took a massive nose dive. Venezuela used to be top 5 coffee producer, now most coffee in Venezuela is imported. Pathetic.

      My wife’s relatives in Tachira use to work on a coffee farm in the 80s-90s. It no longer produces any coffee. The owners use the land for livestock.


    • In a few years i will laughing at you how stupid the opposition you are, everything is changing in venezuela for good….


  4. The drop is not as relevant as what caused it , the total decomposition of what was once a world class corporation , worse still one on which depends 95 % of the countrys export income , Its gone from some 3.4 million bls of production per day in 1998 to 2.450.000 bls per day ( last reported figure) , not because of lack of oil deposits but because of the corruption and incompetence of its management and state owners.


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