Oil Is Discovered in Venezuela (Great Events from History II: Business and Commerce Series)
Article abstract: Discovery of oil near Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela altered the world energy market and eventually changed the nature of Venezuela’s economy, propelling Venezuela into a leading position among oil-producing and -exporting states.
Summary of Event
By any measurement, Venezuela is an old oil-producing area. Spanish explorers returned to Europe in precolonial days with tales of its oil being used by primitive tribes. Significant foreign exploration and development ventures, however, did not begin there until after World War I, when Western security needs arising from the conversion of fleets to oil, growing consumer needs for oil, and fears of shortages in the market produced a sharp, general increase in exploratory efforts abroad. By 1918, Venezuela was already exporting limited amounts of oil. Still, as late as the early 1920’s, exploration in Venezuela did not appear to be particularly promising. The discovery of oil at Lake Maracaibo in 1922 changed that picture abruptly. By the end of the decade, oil had become Venezuela’s principal export, and Venezuela had become the world’s largest exporter of oil and a major voice in the world’s oil business, a role it would retain for the next half century.
Petroleum exploration and development ventures in Latin America initially concentrated on Mexico. Had the Mexican government not become politically unreliable by declaring in its 1917...
(The entire section is 2001 words.)
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