Venezuela has of conventional oil reserves according to PDVSA figures, the largest in the Western Hemisphere and making up approximately half the total. This puts Venezuela as fifth in the world in proven reserves of conventional oil. By also including an estimated of tar-like extra heavy crude oil in the Orinoco Belt region, Venezuela claims to hold the largest hydrocarbon reserves in the world. Venezuela also has 150 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.
PDVSA has a production capacity, including the strategic associations and operating agreements, of 4 million barrels per day (600,000 m³). Officials say production is around although most secondary sources such as OPEC and the EIA put Venezuela's output at least lower.
PDVSA has performed many significant contributions to the protection of the environment through strategic associations with environmental remediation technology providors such as Separation and Recovery Systems Recupertec (SRS) among other companies in the sector to perform the critical cleanup of refining oil wastes and production oil wastes. PDVSA and SRS have been one of the most important collaborators of environmental protection in Venezuela.
In December 2002 many of PDVSA's managers and employees (including the CTV trade union federation) locked out workers to pressure Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez to call early elections, and virtually stopped oil production for 2 months. The government fired 19,000 employees and reestablished production with employees loyal to the Chávez government. The International Labour Organization (ILO) called on the Venezuelan government to launch "an independent investigation into allegations of detention and torture", surrounding this strike. The strike caused substantial macroeconomic damage, pushing unemployment up by 5% to a peak of over 20% in March 2003.
In April and May 2005 PDVSA, per an agreement signed between the governments of Venezuela and Argentina, sent 50 million tonnes of fuel oil to the latter, in order to alleviate the effects of an energy crisis due to a shortage of natural gas.
In November 2005, PDVSA and its subsidiary in the U.S., Citgo, announced an agreement with Massachusetts to provide heating oil to low income families in Boston at a discount of 40% below market price. Similar agreements were later set up with other states and cities in the US Northeast including New York's Bronx, Maine, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Delaware. Under the program, Citgo offered a total of around 50 million gallons of heating oil at below market prices, equivalent to a discount of between 60 and 80 cents a gallon.
In February 2006 PDVSA completed ISO 9001:2000 process certification for its distribution system.
On 28 July 2006, credit ratings agency Moody's Investor Service said it was removing its standalone ratings on PDVSA because the oil company does not provide adequate operational and financial information. PDVSA has still not filed its 2004 financial results with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that were due in June 2005.
Chávez defended Ramírez arguing that public workers should back up the "revolution". He also said that "PDVSA's workers are with this revolution, and those who aren't should go somewhere else. Go to Miami". Furthermore, Chávez stated that Ramírez should give the same speech to oil workers 100 times a day.