The swap could ease the hefty $7 billion in maturity payments that PDVSA faces between now and the end of 2017.
That could help President Nicolas Maduro's ease chronic shortages across the OPEC nation by using dollars to import food and medicine rather instead of servicing debt.
But investors may remain skeptical the proposal does not address underlying problems with Venezuela's state-led socialist economy, such as dysfunctional state-run companies, rigid price controls and corruption-riddled currency controls.
The operation would offer a new bond maturing in 2020 in exchange for bonds maturing in 2017, according to sources familiar with the proposal who asked not to be identified.
PDVSA is considering using shares of its U.S. refining unit, Citgo, as collateral for the new , according to the sources.
"Investors with PDVSA will exchange them for a 2020 bond with more favorable returns and guaranteed by Citgo," said a government source.
The operation would include the $3 billion PDVSA 2017 bond that matures in April as well as the PDVSA 2017N bond, which must make a $2 billion amortization in November and another $2 billion payment at the end of 2017.
PDVSA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Sources in August told Reuters that Credit Suisse was in discussions with PDVSA to carry out a bond swap.
Government officials and PDVSA leaders have repeatedly insisted that any operation would be voluntary and have ruled out forced restructuring that would require bondholders to cut the value of their holdings.
The success of the operation will, however, depend on participation of bondholders.
Investors across the board say they have had no formal conversations with PDVSA regarding the operation, which is a common way of gauging market conditions and ensuring bondholders are aware the operation is on its way.
Some are concerned about potential political opposition to using Citgo shares. Critics in the opposition, which now controls the National Assembly, argue involving Citgo would constitute a de facto privatization of a state that requires parliamentary approval.
"We demand that PDVSA provide information about the swap of 2017 ," wrote opposition legislator Jose Guerra via Twitter on Monday amid rumors that an operation was to be announced.
Venezuela is reeling under low oil prices and a steady decay of its economic system. Inflation is in the triple digits, the economy is in a deep recession, and citizens routinely spend hours in line search of basic staple products.
Investors for months fretted that Venezuela was on its way to default, but have become more optimistic in recent weeks on signs the Maduro government will continue making payments despite adverse circumstances.
Wall St. Analysts believe Maduro's government is worried a default would leave it isolated from the global financial markets.
(Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez and Corina Rodriguez; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)