Reserves Up 8.7% to 87.6Bb

Venezuela has proven oil reserves of 87.6Bb, 8.7% higher than government estimates published at end-2005, state oil firm PDVSA president and energy and oil minister Rafael Ramirez announced.

The increase came solely from reservoir appraisal firm Ryder Scott's certification of the Carabobo I block on the Orinoco oil belt.

"This [new reserve estimate] is the result of the technical work of [Brazil's federal energy company] Petrobras and PDVSA" on Carabobo, said Ramirez during a ceremony at the Carabobo II block.

Previous government estimates of 80.0Bb calculated that Carabobo I held 1.5Bb of retrievable crude. Officials now calculate that Carabobo I has roughly 9Bb of retrievable crude.

Carabobo I also holds lighter crude than that normally found at Orinoco.

"This is API grade 10, very good for Orinoco," said Pedro Leon, manager of new businesses for PDVSA subsidiary CVP.

Orinoco crude usually is API grade 7-8.

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