Quick, name the country certified by OPEC as number one in national oil reserves. Saudi Arabia? No. Canada? Nope. Venezuela? Bing!

After redefining as extra-heavy crude a field previously classified as tar, OPEC certified the South American nation of Venezuela as the controller of the world's grandest oil reserves. The Faja field is estimated to contain 220 billion barrels of crude, rocketing Venezuela's reserves to 297 billion barrels – close to 20 percent of the world's oil.

One man, Rafael Ramirez, is in charge of all that crude and, as such, should probably be considered one of the most powerful figures in the world. As the nation's minister of energy, Ramirez credits Venezuela's world-leading oil reserve status to president Hugo Chavez, saying:
If President Chavez had not arrived to power, we would be out of Opec, the price of oil would have not recovered, and Venezuelan oil would be in the hands of privates.
At the ripe young age of 48, Ramirez is expected to hold his position as minister of energy for decades to come. Now you can say you knew him when.


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