Venezuela's PDVSA Says Debt Fell by $2 Billion Last Year

  • Reduction was `major achievement,' President Del Pino says
  • Total debt was about $43.8 billion at the end of 2015

Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the country’s state oil company, said it reduced debt by about $2 billion last year even as it grappled with the collapse in oil prices.

The debt reduction was a “major achievement considering the unfavorable situation that our country went through last year with the fall in oil prices,” Eulogio Del Pino, president of the producer, said in an e-mailed company statement Thursday.

Sitting above the largest oil reserves in the world, the South American country is more dependent than ever on petrodollars, which account for 95 percent of export earnings and almost half of government revenues.

PDVSA, as the Caracas-based company is known, reported total debt of about $43.8 billion at the end of 2015, compared with $45.7 a year earlier, the company said in a statement in newspaper Panorama on Friday. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said late last year that the country had received multi-billion financing from China and Russia for oil projects in the country.

Venezuela’s oil-basket price, a average of crude grades, has fallen 79 percent to $21.63 a barrel today, the lowest level in 13 years, from $100.64 in June 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. ING Bank NV estimated last month that the country needs oil at $125 a barrel to balance its budget.

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