• State oil co. reports 41% revenue decline to $72.2 billion
  • Profit tumbled 19% to $7.3 billion as production stagnated

Revenue at Venezuelan state oil-giant Petroleos de Venezuela SA plummeted almost 41 percent last year amid a dramatic drop in petroleum prices that has thrown the South American nation into a tailspin.

Income tumbled to $72.2 billion in 2015 from $121.9 billion the year before, while net earnings dropped over 19 percent to $7.3 billion, according to PDVSA’s annual financial statement published on the company’s website.

The global collapse in commodity prices in recent years has not only buffeted PDVSA, but Venezuela as whole as the country generates almost all its earnings from the sale of crude. Years of economic mismanagement, coupled with the plunge of oil prices, have generated chronic shortages of everything from chicken to car parts and the world’s fasted inflation in the OPEC nation.

Export revenue fell nearly 46 percent to $55.3 billion in 2015 as the government of President Nicolas Maduro has introduced drastic belt-tightening, slashing imports ahead of billions of dollars in bond payments due later this year.

Social Spending

Still, according to the report, PDVSA said it had boosted social contributions -- which funds the government’s signature welfare programs like free public housing and pensions -- by more than 72 percent, to $9.2 billion last year.

Critics of the government say the ruling socialists have overstretched the company in the course of their 17-year rule, as slumping output has seen PDVSA struggle to make good on payments to service providers. Speaking in televised interview Sunday morning, Oil Minister and PDVSA President Eulogio Del Pino said oil fields are declining at a rate of 20 percent annually.

Average oil production was about 2.9 million barrels a day last year, while exports totaled nearly 2.4 million barrels daily, the report said.

While Del Pino acknowledged the strain on the state-run company, he insisted production is higher and that PDVSA’s hardships were due to foul play by the government’s political foes.

“PDVSA is being attacked inside and out: discrediting our workers, achievements and also production and with talk of an imminent bankruptcy,” Del Pino said.

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