Venezuela's April Oil Exports Plunge

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OPEC member Venezuela said its exports of crude oil slumped 7.5% in April to 2.22 million barrels per day from 2.4 million barrels per day in March. The country's Energy Ministry released the data today and did not include production figures in the data.

Venezuela's output and export numbers are frequently the target of criticism and debate as analysts have speculated the country does not release accurate data. OPEC and the International Energy Agency both estimate the country produces 2.3 million barrels per day while the government puts its estimate closer to 3 million barrels, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In late March, the government terminated its contract with Inspectorate Venezuela SCS, which had served as an auditor for the country's oil-production figures, the Journal reported. Venezuela's output has been declining in recent years due to lack of investment in the energy sector and President Hugo Chavez's nationalization of the country's energy assets.

In February, Venezuela was the fifth-largest exporter of crude to the U.S., sending an average of 878,000 barrels per day to the U.S. Venezuela, Brazil and Colombia are South America's top three oil producers.