Venezuela Says Oil Reserves Surpass Saudi Arabia's  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

CNBC reports Venezuela has increased their (heavy) oil reserves figures - Venezuela Says Oil Reserves Surpass Saudi Arabia's.

Venezuela has overtaken Saudi Arabia as the world leader in oil reserves with certified deposits leaping to 297 billion barrels at the end of 2010, President Hugo Chavez's government said Saturday.

Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told Reuters that the new reserves, which pushed the total 41 percent higher than the previous year, were booked in the South American OPEC member's vast Orinoco extra heavy crude belt.

A jubilant Chavez told parliament that Venezuela's reserves now surpassed those of Saudi Arabia.

"We have enough for 200 years," the former soldier said in a speech in which he denied he was a dictator, complained that he was being unfairly "demonized" and offered to give up much-criticized decree powers a year ahead of schedule.

There are suggestions that countries, including Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, have exaggerated their oil reserves in the past, though the producers deny doing so.

Some analysts point out that some OPEC members' reserves figures have not changed in years, suggesting new discoveries had exactly matched output, while others say the lack of independent verification gave rise to doubts.

OPEC said that Saudi Arabia's reserves stood at 265 billion barrels in 2009.

Saudi Arabia's advantage is that its oil is mostly light, conventional, easily-pumped crude, while the Orinoco deposits are extra heavy tar-like sour crude that must be upgraded or mixed with a lighter grade to create an exportable blend.

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