Proved Oil Reserves by Country, 2013

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In the wake of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez‘ death, I was reading several news articles about the country. One of them mentioned that Venezuela had the largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world.

“That can’t be right,” thought I. Saudi Arabia has the largest proven oil reserves.

So I looked it up. And sure enough, Venezuela is number one according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency.

But to salve my ego, I was able to determine that this is a recent occurrence. Saudi Arabia was indeed number one up until around 2007; Venezuela was in fifth or sixth place back in 2000. Apparently someone down there has found a lot of the black stuff very recently. And to be fair, there evidently is uncertainty about exactly how proved “proved” is. Oil reserves often are listed as a range rather than a single number.

Incidentally, at first I balked at calling it “proved” oil reserves. Just didn’t sound right. But evidently that’s the accepted term (at least according to the EIA), so I went along with it in the end.

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2 responses to “Proved Oil Reserves by Country, 2013”

  1. philebersole says :

    I think one reason Venezuela has move to the top of the list is that it has a lot of low-grade oil that once wasn’t useable, but now, because of improvements in refining technology, it now is.

    • jcsellak says :

      That’s probably it. If I recall correctly, Venezuela might have a tough time getting at all of it, too, and it might be expensive for them to do so.

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