July 26, 2011

Venezuela Has More Oil Than Saudi Arabia

The Biggest Proven Crude Oil reserves are not in Saudi Arabia, but in Venezuela! I first learned of this in a New York Times Article about Hugo Chavez (Venezuelan President). What I find interesting, is the article was about Mr. Chavez and his recent treatment to remove a large tumor, and towards the end of the article, it is mentioned that OPEC has recently identified Venezuela as the country with the most proven Crude Oil reserves in the World! I would have expected this to be front page news, but somehow, it was tucked inside the newspaper on Page A5! Up until this time, I had always believed that Saudi Arabia had the largest proven reserves, but according to OPEC's figures, Venezuelan reserves are 296.5 Billion Barrels while Saudi Arabia has 264.5 Billion barrels. This information was reported last week in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) annual Statistics report (I linked to the report which I found on OPEC's website, it is a PDF 108 page report).

According to an article that was released about a week ago by msnbc about this, the amount of Venezuelan reserves recognized by OPEC, has increased by 40 percent from the end of 2009. Part of the reason for Venezuela surpassing Saudi Arabia, are a result of what the New York Times Called, Huge deposits of heavy crude found in the Orinoco region. I find this report fascinating because that means the western hemisphere has a lot more oil than originally thought!

Now a Change in U.S. Relations?

The relationship between Venezuela and the United States has been at times rocky over the past few years, and this new revelation of Venezuela containing the worlds largest oil reserves, could make the relationship even more interesting. I have always found that the United States seems to tolerate the society in Saudi Arabia which has often been accused of human rights abuses, and systematic repression such as the laws that don't let women drive vehicles, or those that say a woman must be accompanied by a husband or male relative when going out in public spaces.

The large oil reserves and OPEC contributions that Saudi Arabia makes, seems to keep the pressure off of their government for reforms to a more democratic and free society. This type of pressure has been exerted on other countries by powerful and influential institutions such as the United States government. Saudi Arabia seems to get a pass in this category and their large oil supplies seems to be the reason why. It makes me wonder if U.S. Corporations and the U.S. government is now going to cozy up to Mr. Chavez now that they know he is holding a major trump card which literally translates to, holding the world's largest oil reserves! I read the newspapers everyday and this story seems to have been marginalized. I haven't seen many articles written about it, but I have a feeling we will be hearing more about it in the very near future.

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