AFP Caracas, Venezuela
Jul 04, 2016, 03.14 AM
Venezuela's oil revenues plummeted 40.7 per cent in 2015 due to sinking global oil prices, the country's state-owned oil and natural gas company, Petr?leos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) said in its annual report released Sunday.
PDVSA -- the world's fifth-largest oil company -- earned $72.2 billion in revenues last year, a sharp drop from 2014's $121.9 billion.
Meanwhile, its net profit fell 19 per cent to $7.3 billion.
The South American OPEC country relies heavily on its oil and gas reserves -- which account for 96 per cent of the country's exports and are the largest worldwide at more than 300 billion barrels.
The first half of 2016 saw the value of Venezuela's crude oil tumble to an average $31.15 per barrel, said the country's Ministry of Petroleum and Mining last Friday.
"In 2014 the average price was $88. It is obvious that our earnings have dropped," said PDVSA president and Venezuela's Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino, in a Sunday interview broadcast by the private station Televen.
The sector's nose-dive has exacerbated the country's already dire economic situation in which 80 per cent of basic consumer products, including food and medicine, are in short supply.
Soaring prices and shortages have in turn led to riots, looting and vigilante justice.
President Nicolas Maduro blames the country's economic woes on a right-wing conspiracy, while the opposition is demanding a referendum to oust the leader.