Oil Pollution in Venezuela By: Eduardo Salomon


It is not a very known fact, but Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. Apart from this, it is fifth largest oil producer in the world and one of the top four oil providers for The United States of America.


Venezuela is considered a monoproductor country, because oil revenue adds up to more than half of all the government venue and a quarter of the country’s GDP. The extraction of oil in the country started more than 100 years ago so the environment has been suffering a long exposure to all the extraction processes. [2] The country’s dependence on oil has become very dangerous because regardless of what happens the government of the country cannot stop their production and selling of the resource, this has made the government act at least shady with regards to oil. They have constantly cover or lied about different situations that have happened in the last years that could harm their production.


Many leaks and spillovers along the Caribbean Coastline of Venezuela have cause levels of pollution at sea to reach unsustainable levels. One example can be found in the fishing industry; the environment has been so damaged that many fish have become toxic to a level where they cannot be consumed. Also in the worst circumstances, full schools of fish have been found dead due to pollution.


Water pollution is also a huge problem for the population of the country. Almost 80% of the total country’s population lives in the coastline and all this water is polluted, between the oil spills and that only 25% of all used water gets treated before it gets put back to the ecosystem it is not shocking to learn how in a country that has so much water sources many people have gotten used to having water in their houses only a couple hours every two days.


The burning of oil and natural gas has made Venezuela the top carbon dioxide emissions producer in the South American region. This is not only really harmful to the environment and contributes to global warming, but it also has health adverse effects on people’s health. These emissions are very noxious especially to children and the elderly population, but it also affects adults that have suffered from long exposures to this gas. The main negative health effects this gas causes in humans are related to the lungs and the respiratory organs.


One of the places that have been affected the most is the Lake Maracaibo. This lake takes its name from the city it is located in and it is situated in the north-west area of the country. It is the largest lake in South America. One of the biggest concentration of oil in Venezuela is located in the Maracaibo area, and all the processes and extractions have severely damaged the environment of the zone.


Because of all the land that has been extracted for the oil processes the lake’s shore has been dropping approximately three inches a year. The government response to this problem was to build a dam to keep the water at bay. More than a solution to the problem this can be regarded as an extension that will make the problem grow worst and worst.



Another big environmental problem faced by Venezuela is deforestation. About half of the country is covered by forest and studies have shown how Venezuela experienced the loss of forest cover twice as much faster than the average South American country in the 90s. [3]


The price of oil has been constantly falling for the last couple of years and because of Venezuela is one of the members of OPEC they have to accept and follow the stipulated levels of production and the price. This is also very worrying because without money the government will not be able to keep doing what they are doing, so this problem could finish to drive the country to the grounds. If with all the years of oil prosperity that the country lived in the government was not able to keep the country afloat and affluent now that we are reaching a breaking point of oil industries it is hard to believe that Venezuela can come on top of the situation. [2]





  1. Chinea, Eyanir, and Andrew Cawthorne; “Venezuela’s PDVSA says oil spill controlled, Orinoco unaffected.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 9 Nov. 2016,


  1. Clemente, Jude. “Venezuela’s Oil Problems Abound.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 6 Nov. 2017, http://www.forbes.com/sites/judeclemente/2017/11/05/venezuelas-oil-problems-abound/#3f71d0e86104.


  1. “Corrosion and Pollution in Venezuela.” Corrosion Doctors, corrosion-doctors.org/AtmCorros/mapVenezuela.htm.


  1. “Opec: Venezuela.” OPEC : Venezuela, http://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/about_us/171.htm.


  1. com, Jeroen Kuiper -. “Venezuela’s Environment Under Stress.” Venezuelanalysis.com, 1 Mar. 2005, venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/973.



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