April 18, 2007

Survey shows world oil reserves are not being fully replaced

New York, New York – A new survey of global liquids, published by Energy Intelligence, shows that the world is currently producing more oil annually than it is replacing with new reserves. The new assessment shows global oil reserves declining by almost 13 billion barrels, or 0.9 per cent, over the last two years on a “proved plus probably” basis, to 1.459 trillion bbl at the end of 2006.

Global oil reserves are liquid hydrocarbons, natural gas liquids, tar sands and crude oil that are economically recoverable at current prices.

The survey says that the main reason for the poor performance in growing reserves is a lack of additions to reserves from new discoveries, which account for 20 per cent or less of additions in the last few years. For 2006, the big increases in reserves were led by Brazil and Kazakhstan, but among the top twenty, only eight countries saw increases last year, while the rest were flat or in decline.

Energy Intelligence says the survey confirms earlier suspicions about the overstatement of reserves by Kuwait and some other OPEC producers, while indicating that reserves in Russia and some other non-OPEC countries are much higher than generally reported. The top ten holders of oil reserves at the end of 2006, in order, were Saudi Arabia, Canada, Iran, Russia, Iraq, Venezuela, the U.S., the UAE, Kuwait and Kazakhstan.

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