Study Shows U.S. Has More Oil Reserves than Saudi Arabia, Russia07/05/2016
The U.S. holds more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia and Russia, the first time it has surpassed those held by the world’s biggest exporting nations, according to a new study.
Rystad Energy estimates recoverable oil in the U.S. from existing fields, discoveries and yet undiscovered areas amounts to 264 billion barrels. The figure surpasses Saudi Arabia’s 212 billion and Russia’s 256 billion in reserves.
The analysis of 60,000 fields worldwide, conducted over a three-year period by the Oslo-based group, shows total global oil reserves at 2.1 trillion barrels. This is 70 times the current production rate of about 30 billion barrels of crude oil a year, Rystad Energy said yesterday.
Recoverable reserves – those barrels that are technologically and economically feasible to extract – are analysed by the energy industry to determine company valuations and the long-term health of an oil-producing nation’s economy.
Conventional oil producers such as Saudi Arabia have traditionally used their huge resource riches to wield power globally, particularly among big consumer countries such as the U.S.
This relationship has been disrupted by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and other new technologies that have helped the US unlock vast reserves and enabled it to become more energy independent.
“There is little potential for future surprises in many countries, but in the U.S. there is,” said Per Magnus Nysveen, analyst at Rystad Energy, noting recent discoveries in Texas and New Mexico, which is the nation’s most prolific oil-producing area.
More than half of the US’s remaining oil reserves are in unconventional shale oil, Rystad Energy data show. Texas alone holds more than 60 billion barrels of shale oil.
Other global oil reserves data, like the closely watched BP Statistical Review based on official reporting from national authorities, show that the U.S. still ranks behind countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Canada, Iraq, Venezuela and Kuwait.
Rystad Energy said government data across the world were collected using metrics that were often opaque. Many countries’ numbers often include yet undiscovered oil.
The U.S. shale boom was a factor behind the oil price collapse that toppled the Brent crude benchmark from a mid-2014 high of $115 a barrel to below $30 earlier this year.