Since its creation amid the nationalization of the oil industry in 1976, PDVSA has been the golden goose of Venezuela’s oil-dependent economy. At its peak, the company provided the Venezuelan government with billions of dollars for its social development projects. But decades of mismanagement and undercapitalization have taken their toll, and now PDVSA’s name is synonymous with crumbling infrastructure, unsustainable debt, and falling output levels.
Any path to genuine economic recovery in Venezuela leads through the oil sector. The country is home to the largest proven reserves in the world, reflected in the fact that oil revenue accounts for up to 95% of export revenues. But can there be any hope of a turnaround in 2020?