The South American nation earns 96 per cent of its revenue through oil sales but a lack of foreign exchange has sparked economic paralysis that has left the country suffering serious shortages of food and medicine.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Venezuela's economic collapse is one of the worst in modern history. The economy has shrunk 45 percent since 2013 and the IMF expects it to contract 15 per cent in 2018 alone, with inflation reaching 13,800 per cent.
Only once during the last 30 years did crude production dip lower, but that was during a brief industry strike from December 2002 to February 2003.
It also points the finger at the United States, which has imposed financial sanctions on the country and individual companies.
But experts put declining production down to the government's using PDVSA revenues to plug its fiscal deficit.
Last November, several rating agencies declared Venezuela and the PDVSA in partial default.