Venezuela says oil reserves now at 142.31 billion bbl

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 18 -- Venezuela's ministry of energy and petroleum has added 7.43 billion bbl to the country's oil reserves, raising them to 142.31 billion bbl.

The ministry said the new proved reserves are in the Junin, Junin Block 1, Campos Iguana Zuata, and Zuata North areas in the Orinoco belt, which covers 53,314 sq km around the northern section of the Orinoco River.

The revised figure was released by the Orinoco Magna Reserve Socialist project, which is being carried out by about 20 foreign companies in association with state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA).

The project, which started in November 2006 and has proved the existence of 62.99 billion bbl of oil, is scheduled to end in late 2009. Another 172.61 billion bbl is expected to be added to Venezuela's reserves.

In early August, PDVSA announced that the country's reserves totaled 135 billion bbl of oil after the addition of 5.55 billion bbl of newly proved reserves. The increase came from new-found reserves in the Orinoco belt, including Junin 3, Campos Iguana Zuata 1, and Zuata Norte.

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