Venezuela, once an oil giant, reaches the end of an era

Children playing on abandoned fishing docks soaked in crude oil in Cabimas, Venezuela, in September. Photo: Adriana Loureiro Fernández

 

Venezuela’s oil reserves, the world’s largest, transformed the country and the global energy market. Now its oil sector is grinding to a halt. Will it ever recover?

By The New York Times – Sheyla Urdaneta, Anatoly Kurmanaev and Isayen Herrera

Oct 7, 2020

For the first time in a century, there are no rigs searching for oil in Venezuela.

Wells that once tapped the world’s largest crude reserves are abandoned or left to flare toxic gases that cast an orange glow over depressed oil towns.

Refineries that once processed oil for export are rusting hulks, leaking crude that blackens shorelines and coats the water in an oily sheen.

Fuel shortages have brought the country to a standstill. At gas stations, lines go on for miles.

Venezuela’s colossal oil sector, which shaped the country and the international energy market for a century, has come to a near halt, with production reduced to a trickle by years of gross mismanagement and American sanctions. The collapse is leaving behind a destroyed economy and a devastated environment, and, many analysts say, bringing to an end the era of Venezuela as an energy powerhouse.

Read More: The New York Times – Venezuela, once an oil giant, reaches the end of an era

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