Voltaire Network

Venezuela to Prove It Has World’s Largest Oil Reserves

| Caracas (Venezuela)
JPEG - 14 kb

PdVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, is preparing to launch a study that will prove that the country’s oil reserves, currently believed to be the fifth largest in the world, actually surpass those of Saudi Arabia, the country which is widely believed to have the largest oil reserves in the world.

According to oil reserve calculations made by previous Venezuelan administrations, the South American nation has upwards of 78 billion barrels of oil. However this estimate does not take into account the 238 billion barrels of extra-heavy oil located in the Orinoco Oil Belt, in the eastern part of the country.

The extra-heavy crude oil of the Orinoco Belt was originally sold as a boiler fuel known as Orimulsion and classified in the same category as coal, not oil, which is far cheaper than oil and does not count towards the oil production quotas set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). At the time, in the 1990’s, Venezuela was already producing over its OPEC quota and so did not want Orimulsion to be counted towards that quota. In the past ten years PdVSA has been involved in four joint ventures that mix the extra-heavy crude with light crude, to make a more easily transportable and refinable synthetic crude. These joint ventures currently produce 500,000 barrels of oil per day.

The production of synthetic crude has lead Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez to argue that the country’s estimated 78 billion barrels in conventional reserves should be coupled with an estimated 238 billion barrels of extra-heavy crude in the nation’s Orinoco Oil Belt, resulting 55 billion barrels more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia’s, making Venezuela the oil-richest nation on the planet.

If the study confirms PdVSA’s and Chávez’ accounts, it is expected that Venezuela’s influence in OPEC, will not only increase but also bring about a shift in power within the organization - one in which Venezuela exerts more authority and assumes a much greater leadership role.

Gregory Wilpert

Gregory Wilpert Gregory Wilpert is a German-American sociologist, who grew up in Germany and spent most of his adult life in the U.S. and most recently in Venezuela. He studied sociology at University of California San Diego (B.A. in 1988) and at Brandeis University (Ph.D. in 1993).

Alia2 in english

The Latin American Agency of Information and Analysis-Two (Alia2), is a independent mass media, plural, that reflects the Venezuelan and Latin America since the same Latino-American vision; in different formats, (Text, Sound, Pictures and Video) and languages (English, French, Portuguese and Spanish).

Article licensed under Creative Commons

The articles on Voltaire Network may be freely reproduced provided the source is cited, their integrity is respected and they are not used for commercial purposes (license CC BY-NC-ND).

Support Voltaire Network

You visit this website to seek quality analysis that enables you to forge your own understanding of today’s world. In order to continue our work, we need you to support our efforts.
Help us by making a contribution.

How to participate in Voltaire Network?

The members of our team are all volunteers.
- Professional-level mother-tongue translators: you can help us by translating our articles.