Venezuela is likely to remain the biggest risk factor among leading oil producers for some time to come, according to the latest monthly report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
"Within the OPEC countries, the biggest risk factor is, and will likely remain, Venezuela," the IEA said in its closely-watched report published Thursday.
"Without any compensatory change from other producers it is possible that the Latin American country could be the final element that tips the market decisively into deficit," the Paris-based organization added.
While Venezuela boasts the world's largest proven oil reserves, crude production in the state has been steadily declining in recent years. The South American country continues to slog through an economic crisis precipitated by years of government mismanagement and exacerbated by a prolonged oil price slump.
Following years of sharp output losses, Venezuela's crude output is projected to tumble to 1.38 million barrels per day (mb/d) by the end of 2018, according to the IEA. That would represent the oil-dependent state's lowest level of output in approximately 70 years — with the exception of the 2002-2003 strike.