CARACAS – Oil-rich Venezuela will boost its production of crude to 3.5 million barrels per day in 2012, President Hugo Chavez said.
“We are at 3 million, fluctuating there – a little more, a little less – there we are at 3 million. Now, in 2012, as a result of all the efforts we have made, we should make a leap to 3.5 million,” he said during a Cabinet meeting broadcast on state television.
Venezuela’s oil output will reach 4 million bpd in 2014, the socialist head of state predicted, adding that no more than five countries in the world have “the capacity to increase production at a pace like this.”
Chavez went on to note that Russia currently produces around 10 million bpd, while Saudi Arabian output is slightly lower and Iran pumps 3.5 million bpd.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Venezuela is a charter member, decided earlier this month to set a production ceiling of 30 million bpd, the first increase since the 2008 financial crisis.
Venezuela, the world’s No. 5 oil exporter, sells around 1.5 million bpd to the United States and another 500,000 to China.
The Andean nation possesses the largest certified oil reserves on the planet, with roughly 297 billion barrels. But most of Venezuela’s petroleum is in the form of heavy and extra-heavy crude that is more costly to refine. EFE