Venezuela has dethroned Saudi Arabia to become the world’s new oil superpower with proven reserves of nearly 296 billion barrels, accounting for around 18 per cent of the total global recoverable crude wealth.
At the end of 2011, Saudi Arabia’s extractable oil reserves were estimated at 265 billion barrels, accounting for nearly 16 per cent of the world’s total.
Figures by British Petroleum showed Canada controlled the world’s third largest proven oil resources of 175 billion while Iran came fourth with a round 151 billion.
Iraq possesses the fifth largest oil deposits of 143 billion, followed by Kuwait with around 101 billion barrels. The UAE was ranked seventh with reserves of about 98 billion barrels while Russia controlled the eight reserves of 88 billion barrels and Libya had the ninth largest deposits of 47 billion barrels.
Saudi Arabia had long dominated the world oil reserve map before new discoveries and revision of existing deposits sharply boosted Venezuela’s oil wealth. Canada’s deposits are mainly tar sands, which have yet to be exploited.
Despite the sharp rise in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia remained the world’s dominant oil exporter, supplying nearly eight million barrels per day to the foreign markets and two million bpd to the local market.
Saudi Arabia’s crude exports are nearly triple those of Venezuela’s and account for almost a third of OPEC’s total crude supply.
BP’s figures showed Canada controlled nearly 10.5 per cent of the world’s total proven oil deposits while the share stood at 9.1 per cent for Iran, 8.7 per cent for Iraq, 6.1 per cent for Kuwait and about 5.9 per cent for the UAE.
The Middle East as a whole accounted for nearly 48 per cent of the world’s recoverable oil reserves of around 1,652 billion barrels.