CARACAS (AFX) – Venezuela should be permitted to increase its oil exports following the International Energy Agency’s reclassification of the synthetic crude produced in the Orinoco belt, said Rafael Sandrea, head of the hydrocarbons commission of the Fedecamaras business association.

Newspaper El Universal quoted him as saying the belt’s upgraded extra-heavy oil should no longer be included in Venezuela’s OPEC quota after the oil was reclassified as non-conventional crude in the latest IEA report.

Mr Sandrea said: “We can and must adjust our (production) volumes within the OPEC quotas.”

The belt produces some 270,000 barrels of synthetic crude per day, the report said.

If excluded, the Orinoco crude could be replaced within Venezuela’s OPEC quota by a more profitable grade.

Reclassification of any crude needs to be approved by OPEC, the newspaper said.