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Venezuela: Opec's heavy lifter

The Latin American producer's sharp fall in output has helped hold the cartel’s deal together

Opec's leaders have spent plenty of time in recent months patting themselves on the back for the group's steadfast commitment to the 2016 supply-cut deal. Overall Opec production has often been even lower than the target output—and for much longer than sceptics expected. Almost never mentioned, at least publically, is why the cuts have been so effective: the collapse in Venezuelan output, which has freed up space for other producers to cheat on their quotas without undermining the deal. It's hard to overstate how important Venezuela's production declines have been to the market and Opec's effort. Since the 2016 deal was reached, the country's supply has fallen from around 2.1m barrels a day

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