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Venezuela Passes Saudis to Hold World’s Biggest Oil Reserves

Venezuela surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest holder of proven oil reserves, a resource that President Hugo Chavez promises to tap if he gets re-elected in October.

The South American country’s deposits were at 296.5 billion barrels at the end of last year, data from BP Plc show. Saudi Arabia held 265.4 billion barrels, BP said yesterday in its annual Statistical Review of World Energy. The 2010 estimate for Venezuela increased from 211.2 billion in the previous report.