Cheap Oil Threatens Venezuela Solvency

In Venezuela On

Complicating the picture is the escalating political turmoil challenging President Nicolás Maduro, who needs to shore up his popularity if he is to retain power in the elections scheduled for next year. Consumers have to endure long lines for food and other necessities, and hunger is spreading. With Venezuela’s refineries in disrepair, even gasoline is in short supply. A monthly inflation rate of 20 percent is shrinking the value of paychecks.

International financial experts say that the global oil price will have to rise about $15 a barrel — to $70 — to substantially improve the financial situation for the government and Petróleos de Venezuela, its state-owned oil company, better known as PDVSA. With United States oil production rising, and the commitment of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to extend production cuts in question, few energy experts expect prices of more than $65 a barrel over the next year unless political violence causes a serious oil disruption in the Middle East.

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