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Venezuela increases its oil reserves to over 172 billion barrels

The Ministry of People’s Power for Energy and Oil, through the Office of Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production, announced that Venezuela’s proven oil reserves increased to 172,323,000,000 barrels.

According to a statement from the Ministry, the increase of reserves was achieved through the incorporation of nearly 21 million barrels from country’s traditional oil zones, such as the Orinoco Oil Belt, through the Orinoco Great Reserve Socialist project.  More specifically, this amount of oil was quantified in the Ayacucho, Carabobo and Junín areas of the oil belt.

It is also important to note that in 2008, Venezuela incorporated over 74 billion barrels of oil thanks to this project.

In 1998, when the Bolivarian Revolution began in Venezuela, proven oil reserves were only slightly over 76 billion barrels.  This figure increased slowly, reaching 80 billion barrels in 2005.  This represents an annual variation of approximately 500 million barrels, just about 1%.

The Ministry’s statement says that proven oil reserves significantly increased as of 2006, with the incorporation of the first 20 billion barrels from Carabobo blocks 1 through 4.  This was the result of a quantification and certification process that is part of the Orinoco Great Reserve Socialist project.  It represents an increase of 25% over 2005, for a total of nearly 100 billion barrels of oil.

The Orinoco Great Reserve Socialist project quantifies oil at its point of origin.  Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA, takes part in the process along with firms from several countries.  The results are submitted for certification by independent international companies, and were then added to the Oil Reserve Books that were approved in August of 2007.

By the end of 2009, the project will incorporate another 141 billion barrels to proven oil reserves.  This would make Venezuela the country with the highest oil reserves in the world, with a total of 314 billion barrels of oil.

Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias, Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / March 18, 2009

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