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Venezuela's Orinoco belt developments moving slowly

New development of Venezuela’s vast heavy oil belt is moving like treacle

For a brief time in the early 2000s, it looked like the Orinoco Belt, a vast heavy-oil rich region roughly the size of Costa Rica in the heart of Venezuela, might become the centre of the oil world. New supplies of crude were becoming harder to find, while demand and prices were on the rise. Venezuela’s new leader, Hugo Chavez, had clamped down on the industry and his brand of resource nationalism made oil executives and Western policymakers nervous. Still, the industry had the technology, the cash and the will, and the Orinoco Belt offered an almost unparalleled opportunity, with more than 200 billion barrels of oil that had hardly been touched. It looked like a winning prospect. That mome

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