Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.


The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Alberta’s oil reserves demoted to world’s third largest?

Alberta’s oil sands, considered for years the second biggest oil reserves on Earth after Saudi Arabia’s, may be bumped down a notch.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez laid claim to the world’s largest certified oil deposits in a recent address.

"We have enough for 200 years,” an apparently jubilant Chavez said.

New estimates put 297 billion recoverable barrels under the South American country’s control, a 41 percent increase from last year. That number could eventually rise to more than 500 billion, according to a US Geological Survey estimate from last year.

In contrast, Alberta’s oil sands are thought to contain 170.4 billion recoverable barrels. Saudi Arabia's reserves stood at 265 billion barrels last year, according to OPEC.

The recent figures were disputed as “arbitrary” by Gustavo Coronel, a former executive of state oil company PVSDA.

"The way the Chavez government is handling this issue is political, not technical, designed to increase the geopolitical clout of his regime," he told the Associated Press.

Much of Venezuela’s oil comes in a thick substance comparable to Albertan bitumen. Production so far has lagged far behind Canada, a trend blamed by many analysts on Chavez’s decision to nationalize much of the oil industry in recent years.

PDVSA, the state oil company, has also been accused of mismanagement and incompetence.

Unconventional oil sources – considered higher carbon polluters than conventional operations – will comprise 11 percent of global oil production by 2030, the International Energy Agency estimates.

Geoff Dembicki reports for the Tyee.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus