Rafael Ramírez, Venezuela's Energy Minister, Finds More Oil Reserves For Hugo Chavez

Rafael Ramírez should be ranked as one of the most powerful men in the world. As the Venezuelan minister for energy, he is also head of the country's state oil company -- and, therefore, now controls the world's biggest proven oil reserves.

In a little-reported development, Opec recently certified that the South American nation was number one in national reserves, after a vast field of what was previously classified as tar was redefined as extra heavy crude. La Faja, as the heavy oil belt along the Orinoco river is referred to, contains nearly 220bn barrels. That takes Venezuela's reserves to 297bn -- close to 20% of the world's oil -- and leapfrogs it over Saudi Arabia on 265bn.

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