CARACAS, October 15 (Itar-Tass) —— The average price of a barrel of Venezuelan crude oil rose this week to nearly six US dollars. From 96.30 dollars last week it has been up to 102.05 dollars, the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum of Venezuela announced on Friday.
"The prices of basic grades of oil went up this week because of positive economic indicators in the United States, the expectations of resolving the debt crisis in Greece and the increase in the prices of many commodities, including gasoline," the ministry said in its weekly communique.
The average price of Venezuelan oil since the beginning of the year has been 99.58 dollars, nearly two and a half times higher than the forecast of 40 dollars, incorporated in the state budget for 2011. In 2009, the average price of Venezuelan crude oil was 57 dollars, and by the end of 2010 – 72 dollars.
Venezuela produces more than 2.9 million barrels of oil per day, 2.5 million of which is exported. It is the world's fifth oil exporter. In addition, the South American country has the world's largest proven reserves of crude oil, which are estimated at almost 300 billion barrels, although much of this fuel is heavy and super-heavy. However, there are other estimates, too. For example, the U.S. Geological Survey experts believe that in the Orinoco Oil Belt alone the reserves of extra heavy but still recoverable oil total 585 billion barrels.