Venezuela Touts World's Largest Oil Reserves

CARACAS (Dow Jones Newswires), Jan. 20, 2011

Venezuela has surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the nation with the largest proven crude oil reserves in the world, at 297 billion barrels, said Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez.

"At the end of 2010 we had a level of 217 billion barrels of oil, and right now at the start of this year we can certify 297 billion barrels," the minister said at a press conference.

OPEC member Venezuela, Latin America's leading exporter of crude, has claimed steadily increasing proven oil reserves in recent years including a 23% increase one year ago, due largely to the heavy and extra-heavy oil in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt.

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