July 3, 2016 / 3:16 AM / 4 years ago

Venezuela's PDVSA says 2015 revenue tumbles on oil price fall

The logo of the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA is seen at a gas station in Caracas, Venezuela June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA’s 2015 revenue tumbled 41 percent from the previous year, the company said on Saturday, as a result of a steep drop in oil prices that has pushed the South American OPEC nation into economic crisis.

Revenue dropped to $72.2 billion from $121.9 billion the year before, while net profit fell to $7.3 billion compared with $9.1 billion the previous year, the company said.

Economists tend to focus on PDVSA’s revenue because of its multibillion-dollar contributions to anti-poverty campaigns, which make profit figures less relevant in assessing performance than they are for private firms.

The OPEC country has the world’s largest crude reserves at around 300 billion barrels.

PDVSA’s transfers to social programs in 2015 were $9.2 billion, and state development fund Fonden received $974 million.

Debts to providers, which have led some oil service companies to slow operations, dropped to $19.1 billion for the period compared with nearly $20.9 billion in 2014.

Average crude oil production including natural gas liquids reached 2.9 million barrels per day, while exports averaged 2.4 million barrels per day.

Venezuela’s severe recession and triple-digit inflation have spurred investor concerns that PDVSA may not be able to meet heavy debt payments including $6 billion in maturities that come due by April, leaving PDVSA’s bonds trading at a steep discount.

The government of President Nicolas Maduro insists that Venezuela and PDVSA will meet all debt obligations, noting the ruling Socialist Party has never missed a bond payment. He says his government is victim of an international “financial blockade.”

Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Stephen Coates

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