Why Venezuela plays an important role in the oil and gas industry



One of the largest oil reserves in the world

Venezuela has vast oil and natural gas reserves. According to the Energy Information Administration, or EIA, Venezuela was the third-largest exporter of crude oil to the United States in 2013.Venezula's Proves reserves EIA

According to the Oil & Gas Journal, at the beginning of 2014, Venezuela had ~298 billion barrels of proved oil reserves. As the chart shows, Saudi Arabia is next with 266 billion barrels, followed by Canada with 173 billion barrels.

According to the EIA, proved crude oil reserves in the U.S. were ~30.53 billion barrels in 2012.

Venezuela crude oil production

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According to the EIA, Venezuela  produced 2,300 thousand barrels per day (or bpd) of crude oil in June 2014. Crude oil production in Venezuela averaged ~2,401 thousand bpd from 1973 until 2014. Production reached an all-time high of 3,453 thousand bpd in December 1997, and hit a record low of ~630 thousand bpd in January 2003.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) used to operate in Venezuela through its subsidiary Mobil Produccion e Industrializacion de Venezuela Inc. Production began in 2000 in the Cerro Negro field, in Venezuela’s Orinoco belt, at an initial rate of 60,000 bpd of diluted extra-heavy crude oil.

Natural gas reserves

Venezuela also has vast natural gas reserves. According to Oil & Gas Journal, Venezuela had 196 trillion cubic feet of proved natural gas reserves at the beginning of 2014.

Other major upstream oil companies that operated heavy oil projects in the Orinoco petroleum belt of Venezuela, include Chevron Corporation (CVX) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A). XOM, ConocoPhillips (COP), and CVX are components of the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE).

Exxon Mobil produces more oil and gas from its international operations than from its domestic oil and gas fields. So, it’s important to know how policy changes in other countries can affect Exxon Mobil. The next article in this series will look at this issue in more detail.

Also check out Market Realist’s Energy & Power sector page to learn  more about what’s happening in the industry.


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