Caracas outruns the barrel counters

Back in the 1990s, Venezuela, like some other Opec countries, used to fudge its crude production numbers to avoid accusations of breaching its Opec quota. Until recently, Caracas was still blurring the data, not to sneak extra barrels into the market, but to keep the market from knowing how much its production was falling.

Over the past few months, Venezuela looks to have come clean on the data —  so clean that even secondary sources like Argus are racing to knotch down their estimates of Venezuelan output. It’s a far cry from the days when official data routinely exceeded secondary source estimates.

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Opec losing the Latin beat

Don’t be surprised to find an idle Spanish language interpreter or two along Vienna’s Helferstorferstrasse this week, as Latin America’s sole Opec members are preoccupied with their rocky home fronts. Venezuela and Ecuador appear content to let Opec´s heavyweights plus Russia hammer out the terms of the likely extension of a deal to restrict output. Their effective withdrawal means the region has less of a voice at the negotiating table, matching their loss of relevance in the market. Continue reading