Death of Chavez May Stir Concern About U.S. Oil Supply

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According to the Associated Press , Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez died on Tuesday afternoon following a nearly two-year bout with cancer. The increased uncertainty about Chavez's health had led to a focus in recent months on the Venezuelan contribution to the U.S. oil supply, of which it is one of the largest contributors. Here are the details.

* The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in January that Venezuela currently ranks among the 15 larges global oil producers and is the United States' fourth-largest source of imported oil, behind Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

* The EIA estimated that Venezuela produced 2.2 million barrels per day of crude oil in 2012, as well as lease condensate, natural gas liquids and refinery processing gains. In spite of tensions between the U.S. and Venezuela, 40 percent of Venezuelan crude oil exports went to the U.S. in 2011.

* The Associated Press reported that poverty declined during Chavez's presidency, amid historic oil earnings, though he failed to use the money to develop the economy.

* When Chavez took office in 1999, he enacted policies to increase government control over the oil industry, the EIA reported.

* A strike in late 2002 initially disrupted two-thirds of Venezuela's oil production, the EIA stated. However, according to the Associated Press, Chavez survived a brief coup, defeated the strike and fired thousands of state oil company employees to emerge a stronger president.

* According to Time , Chavez's death "is likely to spark a constitutional upheaval inside Venezuela, where he and his socialist, anti-U.S. revolution controlled the world's largest oil reserves and where an electorate bitterly polarized over his governance must now hold a new presidential election within a month."

* Although there have admittedly been tensions between the U.S. and the anti-U.S. Chavez, according to the U.S. State Department , about 500 U.S. companies are in Venezuela and the U.S. invests in the country's petroleum, manufacturing and finance sectors.

* Venezuela is a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the largest exporter of crude oil in the western hemisphere and a major player in the global oil market, the EIA reported .

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