The US Now Has More Oil Reserves Than Saudi Arabia or Russian Federation

by Linda Olson July 6, 2016, 13:54
The US Now Has More Oil Reserves Than Saudi Arabia or Russian Federation

A new study from Rystad Energy counts USA oil reserves at 264bn barrels, surpassing Saudi Arabia's 212bn and Russia's 256bn, according to a CNBC report.

Rystad Energy estimates recoverable oil in the USA from existing fields, discoveries and yet undiscovered areas amounts to 264bn barrels.

Rystad estimated total global oil reserves at 2092 billion barrels, which would last only 70 years at the current production level of 30 billion barrels of crude oil per year.

Here is a link to the Bloomberg story talking about the study.

Two years ago, the U.S. Energy Information Administration increased its estimate of proved oil reserves held in Texas by 15 percent. That's five and a half times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. Back in 2011, a WikiLeaks document indicated a former Saudi oil executive told American energy officials that his country's recent reserve estimates were likely "overstated".

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Offshore production accounts for 33 percent of the global recoverable oil reserves while unconventional oil recovery accounts for 30 percent of the total.

This relationship has been disrupted by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and other new technologies that have helped the United States unlock vast reserves and enabled it to become more energy independent. The Saudi government most recently reported it holds more than 266 billion barrels of oil within its borders - a sum that slightly exceeds Rystad's 264-billion barrel estimate for the U.S.

The largest shale oil deposits can be found in the United States, in the Green River Formation, which covers parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, while the state of Texas contains over 60 billion barrels on its own.

"Reserves numbers matter but lots of other factors also determine short and long term returns from what the oil companies and nations hold", said Mr Mallinson. Rystad also points out that countries often exaggerate their oil reserve figures to inflate their standings within OPEC.

The output of USA oil has slowed in the past year due to the fall in prices making its production unprofitable in some quarters. That's more than the untapped oil in all of China. "Oil alone can not satisfy the growing need for individual transport", Rystad concludes.

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