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PW: Venezuela's oil reserves




Whether President Chavez said or not said that Venezuela has the world's oil reserves is beside the point, the facts are facts, either you have the proven reserves or not. The way to certain that you have an specific amount of oil in a country, basing or field is by certified it by an independent oil specialists, under specifics and homogeneous common used parameters, Venezuela under the normal parameters does not have the reserves it boost it has, the recovery change factor is not the usual one, as simple is that.

Below is an very recent article reporting on the latest Chavez reserves announcement.

Barry Blacklock / Petroleumworld

Venezuela Raises Oil Reserves, Chavez Says

AP
CARACAS, Venezuela January 12, 2011, 11:01 am ET

President Hugo Chavez said Venezuela has dramatically increased its oil reserves and is now the world leader. Some experts, however, said the new figures are inflated and that Venezuela's oil industry is suffering serious problems.

Chavez said Tuesday night that officials certified vast deposits of heavy crude in the Orinoco River basin in December, and that "we have reached 253 billion" barrels of oil.

Saudi Arabia has said in recent years that it has proven reserves of more than 260 billion barrels of oil.

Last May, the Venezuelan government said its proven reserves stood at 172 billion barrels.

Gustavo Coronel, an energy consultant and former executive of state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, said such a quick increase is technically impossible.

"What the Venezuelan government is doing is imposing an arbitrary, higher recovery factor to the oil that is assumed to be in place," Coronel said. He said that for oil deposits to count as proven reserves they must be recoverable within a reasonable period of time, and that much of the heavy crude in the Orinoco region is not.

Chavez claimed in a televised speech that it is "scientifically proven we're now in the first place in the world in oil reserves."

Coronel disputed that.

"There is nothing scientific about this arbitrary upgrading of the recovery factor," Coronel said. "The way the Chavez government is handling this issue is political, not technical, designed to increase the geopolitical clout of his regime."

He said Saudi Arabia, in contrast, has been producing much more oil for many years and as a result its proven reserves figure is more reliable.

In Saudi Arabia, Oil Ministry adviser Ibrahim al-Mehanna described Chavez's statement as "merely an internal affair" for Venezuela.

"If they say that their oil is 100 times more than that of Saudi Arabia, still we have nothing to do with it," he added.

Jorge Pinon, an energy expert at Florida International University in Miami, said that Venezuela's state oil company has suffered from a lack of adequate technology and investment, hurting oil output in recent years.

"You can be sitting on the world's largest oil reserves but if you do not have ... capital, technology, know-how, and most important, stewardship of the enterprise," Pinon said, "they are worthless."

Associated Press Writer Abdullah al-Shihri contributed to this report from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.




Barry Blacklock
is Petroleumworld Canada's correspondent. Petroleumworld not necessarily share these views.

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Petroleumworld News 01/13/2011


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