Notably the largest crude oil exporter in the Western Hemisphere and a founding member of OPEC, Venezuela is a key player in the industry, having supplied some 1.89 million barrels per day of oil to the world market in 2008. Currently, Venezuela boasts the largest amount of proven oil reserves in South America at 99.4 billion barrels, as well as proven natural gas reserves of 176 Tcf. Nationalized in the 1970s, Venezuela's petroleum industry is dominated by state-controlled PDVSA, also the South American country's primary employer. In 2009, PDVSA initiated further nationalization, taking control of many oilfield services contractors operating in the region.
Oil and gas graduates represent the next influx of workers bringing new ideas and understanding to the oil and gas industry. Many students choose oil and gas degrees as a potential for competitive salaries, opportunities to travel, and great career prospects.