Peter Howard Wertheim
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 14 -- Venezuela President Hugo Chavez on Aug. 10 launched Phase 2 of the Orinoco Magna Reserva oil exploration project, which the government hopes will greatly increase Venezuela's oil reserves.
Phase 2 involves drilling two oil wells in Campo Carabobo 1 in Anzoategui state to determine the extent of crude reserves along the Orinoco River region.
The project's goal is to double reserves in the Orinoco area to 11 billion bbl of crude, said Pedro Leon, who heads the Magna Reserva project at state-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA.
Venezuela hopes eventually to raise its reserves estimate by 235 billion bbl of crude, apparently by reclassifying extra-heavy oil resources as reserves. Doing so would push the total to 316 billion bbl.