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Page added on June 21, 2012

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Latin America: The Enron Of Oil?

Production

Hugo Chávez, President since 1999.

As any energy watcher will tell you, one of permanent dates in the diary is the release of BP Statistical Review, providing a detailed overview of how the numbers do or don’t stack up. The 2012 edition was unveiled in Londonthis week, and the findings were as interesting as they were depressing. The good news was we managed to ‘keep the lights on’, but at a heavy environmental cost: in bulk terms, coal burn remains the fastest growing global fuel, registering a 5.4% uptick on 2011 levels. That’s a sad reality of global growth, but for those who’ve long accepted we’re shifting from a world of climate mitigation to a world of climate adaptation, it’s much more fun looking at proven oil reserves numbers that keep getting pumped out. Politically it’s right up there with the Eurovision song contest for entertainment value.

When you think oil, you think Saudi Arabia. But Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez has other ideas. Venezuelan reserves have supposedly more than tripled to 296.5bn barrels, a boost of 40.4% with numbers rising by at least 14% in the past five years to 2011. The Bolivarian revolution can champion 18% of the world’s oil riches, the largest single player. Better still; reserves to production ratio now exceed 100 years. This is what you could term the ‘kitchen sink’ approach to reserves – chuck everything you possibly can into the mix. It also stands in sharp contrast to actual Venezuelan production – a paltry 2.7mb/d – marking a 2% fall on 2011 levels, following four consecutive years of cuts. If anything, Caracas provides a telling glimpse of where Latin American hydrocarbon production is heading. All the hype around reserves is merely fuelling resource nationalism across the region. Reserves will go up; production will head in the opposite direction.

 

More from Mathew Hulbert at Forbes



6 Comments on "Latin America: The Enron Of Oil?"

  1. Kenz300 on Thu, 21st Jun 2012 2:31 pm 

    Can oil reserves from Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iran or any other OPEC member be trusted to be accurate? Are they just pumping up reserves because this is what their production quota from OPEC is based on?

  2. BillT on Thu, 21st Jun 2012 2:45 pm 

    Better yet, can any ‘report’ from BP or Forbes be trusted to give real numbers or situations? The answer is NO! BP is hanging on by it’s fingernails and knows that it’s days selling oil are numbered. Nations control about 90% of the world’s oil today. And Forbes is owned by the big corporations and is little more than propaganda for the elite. No news here folks, move along.

  3. Hugh Culliton on Thu, 21st Jun 2012 5:02 pm 

    BP and Forbes are pulling this data out of their collective arse. OPEC’s been lying about proven reserves for years. The naked emperor is out of gas and no one wants to point it out to him. Too bad, we had a chance to get ready for the coming contraction and no one lifted a finger in a meaningful way.

  4. Hugh Culliton on Thu, 21st Jun 2012 5:02 pm 

    BP and Forbes are pulling this data out of their collective arse. OPEC’s been lying about proven reserves for years. The naked emperor is out of gas and no one wants to point it out to him. Too bad, we had a chance to get ready for the coming contraction and no one lifted a finger in a meaningful way.

  5. FarQ3 on Fri, 22nd Jun 2012 7:40 pm 

    Hugh …. I guess that you are saying this data stinks!

  6. BillT on Sat, 23rd Jun 2012 1:36 am 

    This is not ‘data’. This is propaganda against the country that has the balls to stand against the Empire. But, we need their oil so they are still ‘uninvaded’. But, we have tried to kill Chavez on several occasions, without success, obviously.

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