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  • Venezuela crude reserves surpass Saudi in 2010, says OPEC

    Published on July 20, 2011

    Venezuela’s proven crude oil reserves surpassed those of Saudi Arabia last year, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has said, confirming the South American nation’s claims.

    OPEC said in its annual statistical bulletin that Venezuela’s proven crude oil reserves reached 296.5 billion barrels in 2010, up 40.4 per cent year-on-year and higher than Saudi Arabia’s 264.5 billion barrels.

    However, doubts have been expressed over whether all of Venezuela’s heavy oil discoveries are actually viable economically.

    It is also doubtful as to how economic Venezuelan reserves additions could be, as most come from the heavy and extra-heavy oil in the Orinoco Belt, which is difficult and expensive to extract.

    Iraq and Iran’s proven reserves were also upgraded — by 24.4 per cent to 143.1 billion barrels and by 10.3 per cent to 151.2 billion barrels, respectively — roughly in line with the countries’ earlier disclosures.

    The demand for OPEC crude in 2011 is estimated at 30.0 million barrels per day (mb/d), around 0.1 mb/d higher than in the previous report. This indicates a rise of 0.4 mb/d over the previous year.

    In 2012, the initial forecasts for world oil demand, non-OPEC supply and OPEC NGLs indicate demand of 30.3 mb/d of OPEC crude, an increase of 0.3 mb/d over the current year.

    However, these forecasts could be impacted by unforeseen events.

    Venezuela, Iran and Iraq were part of a group that refused to hike output at the 8th June OPEC meeting.

    Meanwhile, in its monthly oil report, OPEC said world oil demand is forecast to grow by 1.36 mb/d in 2011, slightly lower than it had earlier estimated, as the unsteady global economy has added risks to the forecast.

    “In 2012, global oil demand is expected to grow at a slightly lower 1.32 mb/d. The global economic recovery has been facing challenges across the OECD, adding to the uncertainties to next year’s forecast. US gasoline demand is expected to be back in its normal growing mode; however, it will remain a major factor affecting oil demand projections. The disruption in nuclear power generation in Japan could also increase oil consumption in the coming year.”

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