Venezuela Tells International Oil Majors to Cut Booked Reserves

Venezuela's energy minister yesterday told major international oil companies operating in the country to cut Venezuelan oil reserves they booked with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission because of changes in Venezuela's oil laws.

Companies such as BP, Total and Chevron will be affected, said Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez. "The new joint ventures make very clear that the reserves are Venezuelan property," Ramirez said. "The Repsol YPF situation [reserves cut] is not an individual one, but affects all the companies that work in Venezuela."

Analysts said the change is not likely to significantly affect the oil market. "On a global basis, it is unlikely that [the change] would have a major impact on the super-majors," said Robert Plummer of Wood Mackenzie. "The importance of South American reserves is not as significant for other companies as it is for Repsol, whose business is concentrated there" (Hoyos/Blas, Financial Times [subscription required], Feb. 2).

Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202/628-6500.