Talk:Oil reserves

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Falkland Islands - uk[edit]

Apparently the Falkland Islands now have almost 60 billion barrels of oil.

Seeing how this is on other pages to do with the Falkland Islands ( ) should this be included on this page? Would it be listed separately or as part of the United Kingdom. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:43, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Hmm I don't believe that 60 billion barrels is designated "reserves". The article says "as much as 60 billion barrels", which probably means the "possible" or "P90" amount, and not what this article talks about when it says "reserves" (these are supposed to be "proved" or "P10" amounts). Until it is proved (through further drilling and production tests), I think it's kind of a moot point. TastyCakes (talk) 23:14, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
It's all speculation. According to a spokesman for the Falklands government, "There's no way of knowing how much oil is down there until drilling starts. It may be a total success or a total failure, or it could be somewhere in between." You never know whether you've got oil until you put a drill bit into the formation, and you never know how much oil you've got until you drill enough wells to delineate the formation. You can always guess, but you can always be wrong.RockyMtnGuy (talk) 23:18, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
lol  — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2003:C0:A3ED:C48E:25B2:5BF9:6064:3201 (talk) 15:12, 16 November 2016 (UTC) 

Saudi Proven Oil Reserves[edit]

need to be corrected: 'Aramco to add 160bn barrels to oil reserves' Arab News article: Saudi Aramco plans to add 20 percent or 160 billion barrels to the Kingdom's oil reserves, said Khalid Al-Falih, president and chief executive officer of the company. See article at link; (talk) 12:07, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

"Plans to add"? Does that mean they haven't found it yet? Are they speaking of proved, probable, or possible reserves? This statement as given in the link is just too vague to have a place in the article. Plazak (talk) 12:23, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

US Reserves[edit]

I moved this section to Talk:Oil_reserves_in_the_United_States. NJGW (talk) 15:39, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

I am challenging the material marked as "citation needed"[edit]

Editors should provide a reliable source for quotations and for any material that is challenged or is likely to be challenged, or it may be removed. per Wikipedia:Verifiability I will revert to my version[1]. --Savedthat 18:06, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Repeat as necessary: ibid...ibid...ibid...ibid.... You're challenging the material on a sentence by sentence basis, which is ridiculous. Most of the sources are already cited, just not on a chapter/paragraph/sentence basis. You might have to read the references from one end to the other to find the information.
On to details of what you're asking for: Oil reserves in Saudi Arabia - #1 in the world - are a state secret, so the only official source is the Saudi government, which doesn't supply details. Many geologists have doubts about their numbers.
In Canada - #2 in the world - you have the opposite problem, too much information. Much of it is hard to understand. Recently, Canada increased its reserves from 5 billion barrels to 180 billion barrels, but as the result of technological breakthroughs, not drilling. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has been quoted as saying that's an understatement and the number is probably closer to 310 billion barrels. But it doesn't really matter because Canada doesn't have enough manpower to produce that much oil.
And the bottom line is - this is a very arcane field and a lot of the data is flaky and subject to interpretation. Threatening to delete information just because you don't understand it or can't find the sources without reading all the references is not exactly the way to build a consensus. Of course, you can delete it but someone else can revert your deletions. RockyMtnGuy 06:12, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Proper Citation - Even though a source has already been cited, the issue is whether it has been cited FOR THAT PROPOSITION or for some other material fact\data assertion. For example, as of 7-21-2008 nowhere on this topic page was there a source cited for the assertion that the U.S. Production rate for its own oil reserves is about 5 million barrels per day, nor was there ever a source cited for the assertion that the U.S. proven oil reserves total about 21 billion barrels. Too much of the most crucial fact\data assertions on this oil reserves page have no information source cited, apparently because the soure was already cited in support of some other fact\data assertion. It is not sufficient to merely assert that EIA said so. A pinpoint citation is necessary that specifies what article or report title, what entity did it, when the report was published and ideally a web page link to the specific document that contains the fact or data assertion. This is needed to make the information USEABLE. Most responsible people who embark on research must check their sources for accuracy. Verification citation is what makes this Wiki material USEABLE.--Reflecting Pool (talk) 21:47, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
See this discussion for the sources you are looking for. Please don't add sources in the middle of sentences if possible. NJGW (talk) 21:58, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Possible calculation error in table of reserve data?[edit]

Why is it that when I load the barrel data from the table into Excel I do not get the same number of years of "Reserve Life" for Iran, Iraq, or UAE? Table says 74, 101, 107 while my Excel file shows 96, 85, 106. I suspect either the data is wrong or table footnote 3 is wrong. (talk) 03:04, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

I think you're right. I fixed it, so unless someone sees that we've both made some error it should be good for now. It could have been someone updating some numbers and not others, or it could have been some vandal that thought he was sly. NJGW (talk) 03:25, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

When I add up the first column of reserves in barrels, I get 1540.43, not 1324. 3 June 15

Pie chart doesn't match data in table of reserve data[edit]

The pie chart indicates that North America's share of oil reserves is 16%. But the table suggests a much smaller figure: Mexican plus US reserves are only 2.9% of the 12 regions listed, and presumably a smaller share of the total.

Shouldn't table also include a column for exports or internal consumption?[edit]

Seems that the important issue isn't just rate of production. It is rate of production minus consumption or exports. If Saudia Arabia consumed 99% of its own production it wouldn't be such an important player. (talk) 04:19, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Makes sense to me (see Export Land Model), though I wouldn't create a whole section talking about it as that's the domain of other pages. You can do it if you like. If you're not sure how you can just report the numbers here and I'll give it a shot (still learning tables). NJGW (talk) 04:40, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Error in production numbers[edit]

The production numbers given in this article are wrong--EIA lists world production as 86 Million barrels/day not 46-- this also changes the reserve lifetime to about 35 years, which is consistent with other sources128.149.49.49 (talk) 21:25, 14 July 2008 (UTC) Rob

That's not total world production. I changed to table to explain that it's total of top 12 reserves. NJGW (talk) 21:34, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Citation of Information Sources Significantly Lacking[edit]

As of July 21, 2008 this Oil Reserves Wiki page contains an inordinate number of fact\data assertions that have no citation footnote explaining where the fact\data information came from. Verifiable citations to the source of the facts\data asserted is what makes this information USABLE. Usability of the facts\data information is what gives Wikipedia high traffic and credibility. Citations need to be pinpoint, delineating the entity source, the document or report title for that particular fact assertion, the date of the report (date published), and ideally, where possible, the website URL that contains the specific facts\data being asserted. Without such citations, an asserted fact is NOT a fact at all. It is merely opinion, possibly by someone who does not know. For example, as of July 20, 2008 there were no sources cited for the assertion that U.S. Oil Reserves amounted to 21 billion barrels, or for the assertion that the U.S. production Rate`was 5.1 million barrels per day in 2006. These fact\data assertions constitute paramount claims yet are rendered useless (unusable)(unreliable) without source citations. --Reflecting Pool (talk) 22:48, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

See this discussion for the sources you are looking for. Please don't add sources in the middle of sentences if possible. NJGW (talk) 21:58, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
This page might also interest you: Wikipedia:Cite#When to cite sources NJGW (talk) 22:52, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
In general, most of the information can be found on the U.S. Energy Information Authority website: , the U.S. Central Intelligence Administration factbook: , or the International Energy Agency Oil Market Report: . However, it gets tedious quoting these sources over and over and over: ibid, ibid, ibid, ad nauseum. And, unfortunately, much of the original source data is secret - you can't find it available publicly and if you start snooping, people will start following you around. RockyMtnGuy (talk) 16:56, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

US reserves[edit]

Moved section to Talk:Oil_reserves_in_the_United_States#Question_about_protected_drilling_areas. NJGW (talk) 15:41, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Vague sentence[edit]

Over 99% of Canadian oil exports are sent to the United States, making Canada, not Saudi Arabia, the United States' largest supplier of oil. The conclusion of this sentence doesn't make any sense. When I read it, it claims that Canada is sending 99% of its oil exports to the US and that makes it the largest supplier of oil... but that is a fairly meaningless sentence. Even if Canada is the largest supplier of oil in the US, the fact that Canada sends 99% of their reserves doesn't exactly tell us why they are the biggest supplier of oil. Does Saudi Arabia send 50% of theirs? 20%? 90%? and 99% of what value? Basically claiming 99% of some undefined value compared to an unstated value, doesn't exactly draw some meaningful conclusion. It is extremely vague.--Crossmr (talk) 06:47, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

It doesn't draw a conclusion, it's a simple statement of related two facts: 99% of Canadian oil exports go to the U.S., and Canada is the largest source of U.S. oil imports. It leaves out a lot of detail and doesn't draw conclusions, mostly because some Wikipedians seem to be unhappy with both the details and the conclusions it might draw. The underlying facts are that Canada and Saudi Arabia are both major oil exporters. Saudi Arabia exports much more oil (it's #1 in the world), but its exports go to a number of different markets, notably Europe and Asia and therefore it ranks #2 in terms of imports into the U.S. The article could draw a variety of conclusions from that (which somebody would almost certainly delete), notably that if Canada ceased exporting oil, the consequences to the U.S. would be more severe than if Saudi Arabia stopped exporting oil (particularly since much of the Canadian exports are in the form of of refined products and the U.S. has insufficient refinery capacity make up the difference). The flip side is that if Saudi Arabia ceased exporting (more likely), Europe and Asia would be hit harder than the U.S. It didn't mention what proportion of Saudi Arabian exports go to the U.S. since that really should be covered under the Saudi Arabian subsection. RockyMtnGuy (talk) 17:14, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
It does, with the part of the sentence which says "making Canada, not Saudi Arabia". It is written as some kind of conclusive proof that the fact that Canada gives 99% of its oil to the US makes it that position. While the volume of oil given to the US puts it in that position, the simple fact that it is 99% of all Canada's exports, doesn't. If a previous sentence were to talk about the actual volume of barrels that Saudi Arabia sent to the US and then this sentence gave an exact number of how many Canada sends to the US this sentence would make a lot more sense, but a simple vague reference to a value without comparison to another value doesn't making the meaning and purpose of this sentence clear. They're two separate thoughts that aren't joined together properly. It is like saying "Jim spends 43% of his spare time preparing for his class, making him, not Sam, a great teacher" the "evidence" given in this sentence to support the statement is vague and has little meaning. We don't know how long Sam spends preparing, what percentage, and even so, who has more free time to begin with. Maybe 43% of Jim's free time is less than 10% of Sam's free time.--Crossmr (talk) 10:07, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't. Read the article. Your whole statement above is moot. The old version (which you are referring to) invited those who have been doing a lot of reading on the topic of petroleum to read between the lines as RMG suggests. NJGW (talk) 14:12, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
I realize it doesn't now, but he was defending the sentence after it had been changed, so I thought I'd further explain why I felt it was vague and worded poorly.--Crossmr (talk) 14:14, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
It's possible that I'm too logical and know too much about the underlying data to write these articles. In this case, you're drawing too many conclusions from two simple statements of fact and a simple logical relationship between them:
  1. Canada sends 99% of its oil exports to the U.S. (something many people do not know)
  2. Canada and not Saudi Arabia is the largest supplier of oil to the U.S. (something many people do not know)
  3. Fact #1 results in fact #2 (a logical relationship)
Now, the logical relationship can be proven by changing the underlying data (which is in the article but you have to dig for it). For instance, if Canada sent 50% of its oil to the U.S. and 50% to China (which is possible in future if the U.S. congress does not smarten up), then Saudi Arabia and not Canada would become the largest supplier to the U.S. We could go on to speculate how many American SUVs would be converted to scrap metal and sent to China to build new cars for newly affluent Chinese under such a scenario, but that would be getting beyond the scope of the article. RockyMtnGuy (talk) 14:43, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
99% of what? As I pointed out above in my teacher example, a percentage is a non-specific value. Unless we assume that Canada and Saudi Arabia both export the same amount of oil each day, and we know the Saudi Arabia percentage amount, we can't compare them. If I say "50% of people in class A like apples. 40% of people in Class B like oranges. Therefore more people like apples than oranges". Turns out there are only 10 people in class A, and 30 people in Class B. So in reality more people prefer oranges (the rest of the people prefer pineapples for the sake of argument). Percentages are meaningless in this context to make some kind of case to draw a conclusion unless all the numbers from which those percentages are drawn are made available. If the sentence prior to this said: "Canada exports 2 million barrels of oil a day, and Saudi Arabia exports 5 million barrels of oil a day. Since Canada exports 99% of its oil to the USA and Saudi Arabia only 20%, it makes Canada, not Saudi Arabia, the largest provider for the US". A percentage is not a logical relationship. A percentage gives a relative value to the group from which it is taken. "I send 50% and you send 20%" is a very different statement from "I sent 5 and you send 2"--Crossmr (talk) 02:41, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Is this a linguistics lesson or an article discussion? Either way, two sentences before the 99% figure we see this interesting remark: "[Canada] exported 840 million barrels (134×106 m3) to the U.S."... leading me to assume that it's 99% of 848.5. But just in case I wasn't in the mood for assuming, it's a good thing that both of those statements have sources I can check. NJGW (talk) 15:28, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
If you really want to know, it's on the National Energy Board site: In 2007, Canada exported 285,099.0 cubic metres per day (1,793,219 bbl/d) of crude oil, of which 282,014.7 cubic metres per day (1,773,819 bbl/d) went to the U.S. and 3,084.3 cubic metres per day (19,400 bbl/d) went to other countries. That doesn't include refined products, which are accounted for separately. You can also find it broken down by month, and what area in the U.S. it went to. And it's also available in both metric and imperial units, per day, per month and per year, and both English and French. Note that these volumes vary widely from month to month (in April 2008 Canada exported 351,503 cubic metres per day (2,210,890 bbl/d)). Regardless, it's more than any other country exports to the U.S., which information is available on the U.S. Energy Information Administration web site. RockyMtnGuy (talk) 21:41, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

US Consumption, Imports, Production[edit]

We shouldn't have references to consumption and imports for the only the United States. We should include all other nations as well, or delete the references. I think we should drop it. The references are out of place in an article about reserves. They seem more appropriate for articles such as Energy policy of the United States.--Work permit (talk) 04:26, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

The US is the only major holder of oil reserves that is also a major oil importer, hence the focus on that significant fact. This article also discusses imports and consumption for Canada, since Canada is both an importer and exporter of oil. However, all the other major oil-reserve countries are major oil exporters so there's no point in talking about their nonexistent imports. Consumption in oil-producing countries possible should be discussed, though, since it's getting to be a global problem. On the other hand, Energy policy of the United States looks like it needs some work. It talks about US relationships with oil-producing countries, but among other things misses the points made in this article that Canada is its largest supplier, and that Mexico, once its second largest supplier, has gone into a production tailspin lately. The section on energy independence there seems to be a bit off-topic so the graph of oil production vs oil imports could be a useful reality check. So some information could be transferred over from this article (although it might get some Americans perturbed). RockyMtnGuy (talk) 05:52, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Ok. I'll clean it up--Work permit (talk) 06:30, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Since reserve and production figures from 1970 to 1986 are cited, total production over this period are also cited. Total production represents depletion of reserves. Also included history of reserves/prodution to give historical context to this number--Work permit (talk) 02:38, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Reserves to production ratios can be somewhat misleading when quoted out of context. The reason the US R/P ratio "hit a trough of 8.49 years in 1986" is that they completed the Alaska pipeline and cranked up the pumps to maximum to get as much oil as possible to market to recover their capital investment. The reason it is about 12:1 these days is that the reservoirs are largely depleted, the wells are mostly strippers, and they can't pump oil out that fast any more. That's why they invented pump-off controllers - so the well pumps automatically turn off and let oil accumulate in the wellbores before they start up again, instead of wasting energy pumping nothing. RockyMtnGuy (talk) 12:26, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree that quoting reserves to production ratio without context can be misleading. Since the initial statement lacked any context at all, I do feel it's necessary to put this number in historical prospective, or delete the reference entirely. I'll add a statement on alaska pipeline. If we want to go into even more in depth, I suggest we should create a section on "expected ultimate recovery". --Work permit (talk) 14:40, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
A section on the technical aspects of reserves to production ratios could be useful in allowing readers to understand what they actually mean (i.e. not "years of oil left") and what the implications of an 80:1 ratio for Saudi Arabia or a 140:1 ratio for Canada means versus a 12:1 ration for the US or a 9:1 ratio for Mexico. (Other than the fact the former two have a lot of oil and not many people, whereas the latter two have the opposite.) I'm not too sure if a section on "expected ultimate recovery" would be that useful. Frankly, you really can't predict it, and a lot of what I have seen written on the subject has either been politically motivated or just plain delusional. RockyMtnGuy (talk) 02:49, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
For the US, total production over any period of time far exceeds change in proved reserves for that same period of time. Since the article chose 1970-2006, I decided to subtely make that point using those two dates: 102 bbn of crude produced with only 18bbn reserve decline. And this just after the last big oilfield was discovered. You can do the same analysis for just for alaska. In 1977, proved oil reserves in Alaska were 8.4bn bbls. At the end of 2006, it was 3.9bn bbls. From 1977 to 2006, Alaska produced 15.4bn bbls. (8.4bn-3.9bn) != 15.4bn. There are many reasons for this. I'd start with the obvious observation that proved reserves (the tail) are not probable reserves (the mean). You should EXPECT to get more. Add to that the horrible horrible math of arriving at a total value for proved reserves by simply adding together the “proved” values of a large number of fields. You can do that with probable reserves (the mean), but adding together tails for each field grossly underestimates the 90% confidence level of the sum.--Work permit (talk) 06:35, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
The US requires companies to use an excessively conservative definition of reserves (proven, P90, or 90% probability), so they will normally increase with time. It's a mistake to think that these standards apply world wide. Most other developed countries use a more liberal definition: proven + probable, P50 or 50% probability. Their reserves might increase or decrease as time goes on, but in general they will average out the same as predicted. Although they can't publish them, oil companies usually use P50 numbers internally - for instance, when BP abandons its last Alaska North Slope well, it is likely the total oil it ultimately recovers will be relatively close to its unpublished internal estimates (from what I have seen of them). However, its officially released reserve estimates were considerably lower than its internal numbers for legal reasons. OTOH, with second or third world countries, you really don't know. Some, like Russia, use an extremely optimistic definition, somewhat equivalent to proven + probable + possible, P10 or 10% probability. It is highly likely that their reserves will decline the more drilling they do - which is something that can take the uninitiated by surprise. And, a lot of the OPEC reserves are politically rather than geologically determined. They are whatever worked out best from the standpoint of getting the production quota they wanted. Unfortunately, most of the world's oil reserves are in OPEC countries, so most of the world's oil reserves are what is known as a pig in a poke - you just don't know what is in the bag until it is too late. RockyMtnGuy (talk) 00:42, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Alaska production graphs[edit]

Curious why are we adding reserve and production graphs for alaska to the prospective resource section on US? The production and reserve figures in the graphs refer to past history of proved reserves and production in Alaska, while the section is on (unproved) prospective resources in the US.--Work permit (talk) 05:39, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

I moved them to proved reserves section.--Work permit (talk) 20:28, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
The section on prospective resources includes a lot of pie-in-the-sky speculation, so I thought a couple of graphs of actual data would constitute a reality check. The US gov't reserve estimates strike me as a bit delusional, and I don't see oil companies quoting numbers that big. The Alaska data indicates that production is well down the decline curve from its peak in 1988. If they don't find more oil to put into the Trans Alaska Pipeline soon, there are going to be problems. It was only designed for a lifetime of 25-30 years, and if production falls too low there may not be enough oil to justify keeping it running.RockyMtnGuy (talk) 04:38, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
The prospective resources refer to areas east and west of prudhoe bay. Central north slope has less then 4bn barrels left, according to the USGS.--Work permit (talk) 04:49, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
I used to work for a company that drilled a lot of wells east, west and north of Prudhoe Bay in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, which is why I tend to believe the USGS numbers are delusional. If there was something really big up there, we would have found it. We found some oil, but not enough to justify development, and lots of natural gas, but there was already lots of stranded natural gas in Alaska. Now, the trouble with all the text quoting USGS numbers about prospective resources is that a lot of readers think that this is oil in the ground, and it's hard to explain that it's more like having tickets on the lottery. You might win, but most likely you won't.RockyMtnGuy (talk) 03:08, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
They're adding alot of white space to the article, and there is no significant text behind alaskan crude production. I've deleted them for now. Is that ok? If we want to go into specific fields, we should add text to Ghawar first.--Work permit (talk) 03:58, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
And the trouble with Ghawar is that the Saudis consider reserve and production data to be state secrets. We need to get the CIA in there browsing through Saudi Aramco's well files to get some hard data on it.RockyMtnGuy (talk) 03:08, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Calculating oil reserves[edit]

I rewrote the section on calculating oil reserves. Some parts were confusing, other parts just wrong. --Work permit (talk) 02:51, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

OPEC/Middle East[edit]

I've restructured the wording on opec reserves, and added data and citations. Structured the language to be more encylopedic, and in my opinion more damning on the reserves estimates. Should add cambell's original article to the mix. Also deleted the references to percent reserves in the middle east being a third rather then two-thirds, since the statements were confusing proven reserves with resources, and off the main topic.--Work permit (talk) 23:13, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Reserves growth[edit]

I added a new section on reserves growth--Work permit (talk) 04:23, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Split article?[edit]

Is this article too long? I think it is. I suggest we take all the subsections on country reserves in section 4 and create new articles for each, ie "Oil Reserves in Saudi Arabia", "oil reserves in the United States".. We can hotlink each article to the table of the top oil producing nations. I also suggest splitting off "arctic reserves". I'm willing to do the work if we all agree--Work permit (talk) 05:34, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Ok, Kill Me, I did it. I really think it works better. Each country could use it's own article for expansion.--Work permit (talk) 06:59, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Problem source[edit]

I just pulled this source. It was used for definitions, but didn't point to definitions. Another source did have a full list of defs, so that should suffice. This is here in case anyone wants to look at it. "Oil Reserves - Supply". Oil Market Report. OECD/International Energy Agency. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-17.  NJGW (talk) 22:27, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

I didn't post the bogus link. After discovering and correcting the first blatant error (unrelated link & imprecise info), it occurred to me that there were probably more. I expanded my review and made additional corrections. If you folks considered policing this article better, others wouldn't have to. -unsigned by (talk · contribs)
Nobody said you posted a link, and the one in question is not bogus. Someone in the past linked to the IEA for reserve definitions, but not directly to the definitions. Since the other link is directly to some definitions, I used that one and moved this one here in case anyone wants to use the IEA Oil Market Reports for anything. My only comment to you was to consider using the "preview" button instead of making many edits to the same material. NJGW (talk) 05:38, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

Brazilian reserves question[edit]

Should this updated information be included? LA Times story

How huge is the Pre-salt field? The Iara discovery bolsters estimates that it could contain 70 billion to 110 billion barrels of oil, said Segen Estefan, a professor of ocean structures at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, a leading petroleum research center.

Binarystar1984 (talk) 08:03, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

This keeps getting blown out of proportion... see the old discussion in the archive. Hard to tell if it's anything significant. NJGW (talk) 15:48, 24 September 2008 (UTC)


this section was unsourced, and rambling. Lets discuss what the point of the section is. I'm willing to help adding sourced material--Work permit (talk) 05:04, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Change of units from Gbbl to Gb?[edit]

In the article, what does "Gbbl" stand for? Gigabillionbarrels? That seems redundant. An Internet search of acronyms gives "Gbbl" as "George Bruce Branch Library". However, searching "Gb" gives "gigabarrels", so shouldn't we use "Gb" instead? Titus III (talk) 05:04, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Fine with me--Work permit (talk) 05:09, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Gb is Gigabit. Try a search for Mbbl [2]. NJGW (talk) 17:49, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Within the context of oil reserves, I've seen Gb used more often the Gbbl. 434k ghits for gb in the context of saudi reserves vs 365 ghits for gbbl. I'm not passionate, either is understandable given the context.--Work permit (talk) 20:26, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Neither Gbbl nor Gb is a standard abbreviation for billion barrels. They're a mix of Greek ("giga") and ye Olde English ("bbl"). People are just making them up by analogy with computer lingo. If there was a "standard" abbreviation, it might be "Bbbl" for "billion barrels", although the industry doesn't normally use volumes on that scale.RockyMtnGuy (talk) 01:21, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

Estimated reserves in order[edit]

Updated tables to 2008. There was an error in previous table, excluded Kazakhstan (which has higher reserves then United states) as well as China, Qatar, Algeria and Brazil (which have larger reserves then mexico). Rather then demote mexico, I included them as well, making this a table of the "top seventeen" reserves. If you like, feel free to add Angola, Azerbaijan, and Norway and round out to a "top 20".--Work permit (talk) 22:43, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Request to update Mexico Reserves[edit]

Mexico just certified the existence of 139bbl in Chicontepec, plus the previously proved 12 bbl it makes a total of 151 bbl, making it the 3rd biggest country with proved reserves in the world. I suggest to update all the information regarding Mexico. Here's the source, which by the way is in spanish 21:21, 17 February 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

That is not new oil. Oil companies have known for decades that there are 139 billion barrels of oil in place in the Chicontepec Field, but if you look at the oil reserves in Mexico article, it says, The field has remained undeveloped because the oil is trapped in impermeable rock, requiring advanced technology and very large numbers of oil wells to extract it. This is still true. You need to understand the difference between oil in place and recoverable oil. Using existing technology, PEMEX can recover only 6-8% of the oil in place, and it must drill more oil wells than have ever been drilled in Mexico before to do so. It does not have the technology to extract more oil, and it does not have the money to drill more oil wells.RockyMtnGuy (talk) 21:55, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Comparison of commonly cited global reserves numbers[edit]

I've removed the section. It's unencyclopedic and largely redendant with the other sections--Work permit (talk) 09:32, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

The "oil reserves" section needs a part to explain how the number are arrived at. How can you remove such a critical area?

The organizations you cited do not actually use the methods you indicated. The methods used by oil companies are covered by the section under Estimation Techniques. The techniques used by government agencies such as the International Energy Agency, the US Geological Survey, etc. are much more sophisticated than you indicated. While their sophisticated methods have lead to grossly incorrect estimates in the past, many of the errors have been political rather than technical in nature, which leads to POV issues in explaining them. RockyMtnGuy (talk) 19:20, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Use of reserve life misleading[edit]

Obviously the assumption that production will remain constant (or that no new reserves will be found) is unrealistic. But it is NOT misleading since the reader should understand that the reserve life is a first-order estimate, not a prediction. The exact year in which the reserves will become depleted is obviously doubtful, but the estimate of the timescale for the reserve life is correct and extremely important. If the question is whether the average reader can understand this or not, then all it takes is a better sentence explaining what the reserve life means. I'll bring the lines in question here for further discussion:

World Total Reserves and Consumption. According to BP, the total world reserve in 2009 was 1.33 trillion barrels [1] . If production were to remain constant at 85.5 million barrels per day [2], the reserves would be depleted by 2052.

I see no reason why the average reader would find this difficult to understand.

The current numbers assume constant production numbers, which is unrealistic and misleading. Titanium Dragon (talk) 20:28, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

It's more accurately called the reserves-to-production ratio. (Unfortunately the Wikipedia article on reserves-to-production ratio verges on being complete nonsense.) If you know the decline characteristics of a resource, it tells you quite a lot about what is going to happen in the future. For instance, in the case of crude oil, it is difficult to produce more than 1/8 of the remaining resource per year. If the R/P ratio is 8, as in the case of the United States, or 9 as in the case of Mexico, you can tell that the country has hit the limits of its oil producibility and the only direction oil production is going to go is down (in the absence of any extraordinary discoveries). That's probably it's most important use.RockyMtnGuy (talk) 02:12, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
My objection is that it is misleading to the average reader. Most people don't understand that "40 years at current rate of production" doesn't mean we'll run out in 40 years. Titanium Dragon (talk) 03:37, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree this is misleading to the average reader. Assuming zero growth of oil demand / production and simply dividing the total resources by the number the current oil production is unrealistic, and will produce meaningless data. It won't even come close to the real prediction due to the exponential nature of the problem at hand.

Uncited redefinitions[edit]

I reverted uncited and incorrect statements, such as The latter conditions not being completely certain lead to automatic rejection of categorization into proved reserves, regardless of engineering certainty. and uncited editorializing such as A fair number of these reserves do not have less than 90% technical uncertainties to production (P90 producible fraction), rather the barriers are economic, contractual, or regulatory, which can be manipulated through politics, speculation/dumping, and the through mass media, and force classification into "probable" what would otherwise be proven--Work permit (talk) 21:06, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Reverting more edits, for example ' As business concerns such as regulatory approval, contracts, and break-even prices are far different from engineering probabilities, proved reserves must first meet business requirements before engineering probabilities are even considered. If reserves do not meet business requirements, they are automatically considered "Unproven". Once they meet business requirements, engineering probability is taken into account. Says who? The original defitions are taken from wp:rs. --Work permit (talk) 22:48, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

I rolled it all the way back. This needs to be sourced before the article takes on all these changes. NJGW (talk) 01:46, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree.--Work permit (talk) 08:38, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Arctic Reserves[edit]

The sentence "the Arctic contains 13% of all the undiscovered oil in the world" makes no sense. Should this be "untapped oil"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:34, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

The sentance makes sense to me. I don't understand your problem--Work permit (talk) 22:55, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, if it's undiscovered, how would we know how much it is? -- (talk) 11:51, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Canada Tar Sands[edit]

Can someone note that Canada ranks third ONLY if their tar sands are counted. On most media and other sources usually, it is stated that Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq are top 3 oil rich countries in the world. Not even BBC news takes into count Canada, so please note this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:41, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

It is better to note that Venezuela has 172 bn barrels from OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin 2008. In the Oil reserves article in Wikipedia - are not counted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:54, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

The usual oil industry definition of proven reserves is oil which can be produced using existing technology under existing economic conditions. (The definition in the article appears to have been diluted somewhat, no doubt by people who have some political disagreement with oil industry standards). The BBC is not really the definitive source for data such as this because they just quote other sources. Better sources are the Oil and Gas Journal and the CIA Factbook. The latter is better for Wikipedia purposes because it is free, whereas you have to pay for the former. The problem with ignoring Canadian bituminous sands (they don't actually contain tar) is that they now account for nearly half of Canadian oil production. If you ignore oil sands reserves, it looks like a lot of Canadian oil production is coming from nonexistent sources. Canadian oil sands can be and are being produced and oil refineries in Texas will soon be processing Canadian bitumen rather than American oil. The problem with the Venezuelan oil sands is both technological and economic: Venezuela has neither the technology nor the money to produce them. Canada does not have those problems, which is why the Oil & Gas Journal and the CIA, among others, include Canadian but not Venezuelan oil sands in their reserves.RockyMtnGuy (talk) 01:30, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
oil prices have to be unusually low to keep companies from processing the tar sands. many foreign companies (including ones in China) have committed billions of dollars over the last year to developing the tar sands, extracting oil from them. the tar sands products are counted towards oil production by all of those foreign countries and companies. Canada's unique among many of those countries (including middle eastern/arabic ones) in that it has major technological, financial advantages. the barrier to production doesn't really exist in Canada. to Canada the tar sands oil is just as authentic as the oil that comes from other sources.Grmike (talk) 07:48, 2 February 2010 (UTC)grmike
USGS has provided an update of the Orinoco tar sands, at 513 bn ; due to the profile of the source, this value will probably be included in next year's tally of all professional papers. Bituminous and tar sands will jump to second and first place in the ranking.--Environnement2100 (talk) 09:48, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
It's not a reserve. The estimate is part of the ongoing USGS series on estimating technically recoverable oil resources. The USGS makes no attempt to estimate what is economically recoverable. Besides that, to be a reserve there must be a development project behind it.--Work permit (talk) 04:27, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
Ditto. The USGS estimates are of Venezuela's probable resources, not proven reserves, whereas the Canadian estimates are of proven reserves and an estimate of probable resources would be much higher. These are supposed to be comparisons of apples versus apples, so they should be proven reserves versus proven reserves. Otherwise they are meaningless. RockyMtnGuy (talk) 20:21, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Yes, the so is Venezuela's. Under Chavez' government utopian bravado, Venezuela included all the Orinoco tar sand into their "available" reserves. If that is so, then we should throw in 700 billion barrels of Canadian tar sand, and then another 750 billion barrels for US shale oil!! That is hokey. Depending on the price of oil on the market, "economically exploitable reserves" shrink and expand. The Persian Gulf state have ready-to-go, liquid petroleum. Not so Venezuela, Canada or US. A new category should be created for this, namely CATEGORY 1: liquid oil; Category 2: non-liaguid oil (tar sand, shale etc.) That way a distinction can be made between what is on the table vs. can might one day if we get smarter and prices go through the roof " — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2604:2000:C686:B00:223:32FF:FE9A:1153 (talk) 21:29, 19 March 2016 (UTC)

Proven Reserves are those that can be produced at current prices using currently available technology. A technique was invented to liquefy bitumen and pump it out of the ground, it's called SAGD, and it increased Canada's proven reserves by 167 billion barrels. However, in reality there are at least 315 billion barrels of potentially recoverable oil in the oil sands which could be produced with higher prices and/or better technology. The total oil-in-place is actually closer to 1 trillion barrels - but most of it falls into the category of non-producible oil. At present this is mostly of academic interest to geologists, but technology keeps on improving. Venezuela's reserves are more hokey because, while their oil could theoretically produced with SAGD, Venezuelans don't know how to do it themselves. In a labor dispute, Chavez fired all their petroleum scientists who might have been able to figure how to do it - every single PhD in their state oil company's research department. They are all working in other countries, now.RockyMtnGuy (talk) 00:57, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
We can certainly include a discussion of the problem in the article, but for the purposes of the list of proved reserves, we should choose one source and stick with it. Otherwise, there will be no end of special pleading that this country or that really has more oil than listed. The three most-used sources for reserves are: OPEC (which counts Venezuela heavy oil, but not Canadian), BP (which counts both Venezuelan and Canadian heavy oil), and the US EIA (which counts both Venezuelan and Canadian heavy oil). The OPEC list may be biased, but my assumption is that they are counting oil produced through a borehole, and ignoring Canadian sands which are surface-mined. None of the 3 lists I mentioned include oil manufactured from kerogen. I note that, although the table references OPEC as its source, it also has Canadian reserves which include the heavy oil sands. So it comes down to: which list (OPEC, BP, or USEIA) should we use? Plazak (talk) 12:43, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
None of those sources qualify as unbiased. OPEC is, of course, an international cartel of oil producing countries who are in direct competition with US and Canadian oil companies. Naturally, it counts Venezuelan oil sands but not Canadian oil sands because Venezuela is an OPEC member and Canada is not. At this point in time, OPEC is trying to drive the non-OPEC producers out of business by cutting prices, but oil sands producers like Exxon, Shell, Suncor, and the big Chinese oil companies have enough money survive a long time at low prices. BP is a British based international oil company which has made a lot of serious blunders in recent years. Some years ago, it sold all its oil interests in Canada, but more recently it had to buy the same resources back at a much higher price (something it doesn't talk about very much). The EIA is an agency of the US government. Naturally, it's going to talk a lot about US oil shale, and very little about Canadian oil sands, although the latter are in large scale production and the former are not. If you want the true facts on Canadian oil sands, the place to get them is the Alberta Energy Regulator. It requires all oil sands companies to report all their relevant geological and production data. Other organizations have to get their data from the AER and interpret it for you according to whatever standards they think benefit them most.RockyMtnGuy (talk) 21:14, 21 March 2016 (UTC)
You say that BP is biased against Canadian oil sands, yet their reserves list includes Canadian oil sands. You accuse the US EIA of being similarly biased against Canadian reserves, and also that they "talk a lot about US oil shale." Yet the USEIA reserves list includes Canadian tar sands, and excludes US oil shale. So what, in your view, are they doing wrong? You accuse the USEIA of being an agency of the US government (Guilty!), but if being a government agency means that they twist the statistics to suit their government, doesn't that make the Alberta Energy Agency equally suspect? If anything, they have a much stronger motive. So let's see. If we're going to be equal-opportunity paranoids, we have to exclude all government agencies because governments have their own agendas, and obviously exclude private companies such as BP, because they have their commercial interests to protect. What's left? Plazak (talk) 03:08, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
No, I didn't say that BP was biased against Canadian oil sands, I said that some years ago they sold their Canadian oil sands assets and later had to buy them back at a much higher price. Knowing as I do some of the ex-BP executives involved in the sale, I am implying that BP might be somewhat sensitive about the issue and not want to talk about it. In reality BP has its own agenda and is lacking options. The British North Sea is in terminal decline, Alaska is in terminal decline, their big blowout in the Gulf of Mexico ruined their chances there, Russia screwed them out of their Russian operations, and they lost their Iranian fields a long time ago. So what is left that is big and not controlled by OPEC? Canadian oil sands. Yes, the EIA does recognize the oil reserves in the Canadian oil sands (which is oil and not tar) and not US oil shale (which is not oil and not shale). At this point in time there is zero production from US oil shales, while the largest source of US oil imports is now the Canadian oil (not tar) sands. If the EIA didn't recognize it, it would make it appear that the US is importing much of its oil from a country that doesn't have enough oil to export. (Which was somewhat the case with their statistics a few years ago.) The Alberta Energy Regulator has all the data about Alberta oil sands in its vast computer databases and everybody else has to ask them to access it. The AER probably does have its own agenda (which may be in flux because Alberta recently elected a socialist government), but looking at their data and having done research in the oil sands myself, it looks like they are deliberately understating their reserves by at least 50%. Why are they doing that? I don't really know.RockyMtnGuy (talk) 19:23, 23 March 2016 (UTC)
On 21 March, RockyMtnGuy wrote: "If you want the true facts on Canadian oil sands, the place to get them is the Alberta Energy Regulator." Two days later, someone also named RockyMtnGuy wrote that the AER is deliberately understating reserves by a factor of 2. But which one is the evil twin? In the meantime, let's get back to choosing a reliable source for the article. I note that the National Energy Board listed Canadian reserves as 171.3 billion barrels as of the end of 2012 (the latest I found on their website). According to The US EIA, as of the beginning of 2013, reserves were 1% higher, at 173.1 billion barrels. So did reserves jump up 1% at the stroke of midnight, or is this what you mean by writing that the US EIA is not a reliable source? Or perhaps the NEB and the US EIA are in cahoots! Plazak (talk) 20:12, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

How much oil was there before exploration?[edit]

Is there a good estimate of how much petroleum reserves existed worldwide before drilling started in the mid 19th century? Please add this and other historical information if you have it. Thanks! -- (talk) 11:50, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Date of source in "Estimated reserves by country" section given as of 2010?[edit]

The source indicates the data is from 2007 IEA report and the related link leads to a chart including 2007 and 2009 data. (talk) 21:58, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Reserve Table rations wrong again[edit]

Can someone check the ratios of reserves to productions in the table. For Saudi Arabia particularly I get 75, not 125. Also with the average for the whole list being 50 years, this is inconsistent with the data. Can someone check it's not just my bad maths? Pi (Talk to me! ) 06:04, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

I agree with the ratio of Saudi Arabia being 75 rather than 125. Findus1 (talk) 09:07, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Reserve Table Totals are wrong[edit]

The first 12 entries in the reserves table are 10x too large. See, which states that US has 21 Bbbl of reserves, but the table shows 210. Likewise, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia:

Once the first 12 entries are corrected, the reserve lifes are almost all correct. Venezuela should be at 302, not 201, Canada should be at 234 not 188. The rest only show possible round-off errors. Since the actual total reserves for the table is 1499 Bbbl, with 63 Mbbl/d production, the calculated reserve life is 65 yrs, not 54. --> 1499000/63/365 = 65.0

I noticed this as well. It may have started with this edit by an IP user on July 14. I was going to switch the names back, but the table has been edited a lot since then based on the current names. Start the table over from a blank slate? Maghnus (talk) 21:57, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Plagiarism in introduction[edit]

Hello. My name is Arturo and I am BP's representative on Wikipedia. I do not edit any Wikipedia articles directly, but periodically will ask editors to look at portions of articles that are relevant to BP. I am here because I had noticed that the first reference used in this article, in the introduction, was a page on the BP website, but that the link went to an error page. While looking for the new location of this page on the BP website I came across this Oil reserve definitions page and noticed that the language in the introduction was borrowed from the BP website.

The introduction currently says:

The ratio of producible oil reserves to total oil in place for a given field is often referred to as the recovery factor. Recovery factors vary greatly among oil fields. The recovery factor of any particular field may change over time based on operating history and in response to changes in technology and economics. The recovery factor may also rise over time if additional investment is made in enhanced oil recovery techniques such as gas injection, surfactants injection, water-flooding,[3] or microbial enhanced oil recovery.

And the BP source says:

The ratio of reserves to oil in place for a given field is often referred to as the recovery factor. The recovery factor of a field may change over time based on operating history and in response to changes in technology and field economics. The recovery factor may also rise over time if additional investment is made in secondary recovery techniques such as gas injection or water-flooding that augment the natural pressures within a given reservoir.

I'd like to suggest that this paragraph be revised to address the issue of plagiarism, replace the dead link and place the reference at the end of the sentence.

Here is some language to consider for the second paragraph of the introduction:

The total estimated amount of oil in an oil reservoir, including both producible and non-producible oil, is called oil in place. However, because of reservoir characteristics and limitations in petroleum extraction technologies, only a fraction of this oil can be brought to the surface, and it is only this producible fraction that is considered to be reserves. The ratio of reserves to the total amount of oil in a particular reservoir is called the recovery factor. Determining a recovery factor for a given field depends on several features of the operation, including method of oil recovery used and technological developments.[4]


This version is a little shorter and also removes the stray bolding of "oil reserves". What do other editors think of this? As I mentioned, I don't directly edit any Wikipedia articles, so is there an editor available to correct this issue, perhaps using my revision as a guide?

Also, I would like to propose adding this BP report Statistical Review of World Energy to the External links section of this article, if that would be appropriate. I am not very familiar with the rules for external links in articles like this one. Is this the kind of source that would be useful here? Thanks. Arturo at BP (talk) 23:07, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

Hi Arturo, thanks for the suggestions. I have added them into the article. Cheers Acb314 (talk) 13:03, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Thank you, Acb314, the edits look good. Arturo at BP (talk) 18:31, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

Updates required to all graphs and tables in this main article[edit]

Graphs and tables make quick estimates easy for users. Because the graphs and tables are dated differently, there is no way to use them sensibly. As they are currently presented, this information is contradictory and confusing - hardly useful for a quick reference. At the moment, different users can reference this article to support a very wide variety of "certified" views.

I am not particularly qualified to update these graphs and tables, but there others who have the tools to do this in an afternoon.

Most of these graphs and tables are certified, and I understand the organizations responsible would not grant certification to over-write their official (dated) graphs and tables. However, as each graphic was updated, a note could be added "Unofficial, pending certification by officials at so and so association/organization".

At least there would be some pressure on the officials to update their data. And users would have sensible information to LOOK AT.

No? — Preceding unsigned comment added by EmilW (talkcontribs) 11:01, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

Neutrality of World Reserves section[edit]

There is a strong indication that this section has a non neutral point of view (NPOV) and therefore non-compliant with Wikipedia standard [1]. I suggest either omitting or further qualifying the following statements:

"The understatement of these reserves appears due to the quite dynamic shale oil revolution and as such seems misleading."

"As seen from the Government issued data, the numbers are misleading and one can make their own determination of the intent."

"As one can therefore determine, there is an undercurrent of disinformation in the above published table."

I am not arguing that state provided reserve numbers are misleading, but rather that the facts do not substantiate a intentional campaign of misinformation. Estimating oil reserves is technically complex -- standards setting organization often disagree regarding best practices. It seems more likely than bureaucrat provided data is more guesswork than disinformation.

I removed a section of poorly sourced US-centric rambling. Does this remedy your POV concern? Thanks for pointing this out. Plazak (talk) 02:38, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Modern sources for table: world reserves by country[edit]

As was pointed out above 3 years ago, the numbers given in this article are obsolete. Even worse, many or most sources of data don't use the SPE definition distinguishing "reserves" from "resources". (The academic source quoted and cited below is an exception.) Aside from the lede, reverted by User:Plazak to conform to SPE (and then clarified by me), most of the article and its tables presently present SPE "resources", but calls them "reserves". (This is exactly the sort of issue that WP should get right.)

The data appearing in this table can be updated using this table, which contains those of both Rystad Energy from 2016, which is independent of any oil company or government, and those of BP from 2015. It would be good to include several of these columns for comparison, as they do. Furthermore, the bottom note below their table clarifies that their numbers represent technical reserves, not economic reserves: "including non-commercial volumes". These data were reported by citable news sources here and here.

A 2015 source distinguishing technical resources from economic reserves is this academic article in a prestigious peer-refereed journal.[2] They provide some numbers for regions, and some individual countries, using these definitions:

In this work ‘resources’ are taken to be the remaining ultimately recoverable resources (RURR)—the quantity of oil, gas or coal remaining that is recoverable over all time with both current and future technology, irrespective of current economic conditions. ‘Reserves’ are a subset of resources that are defined to be recoverable under current economic conditions and have a specific probability of being produced. Our best estimates of the reserves and resources are presented in Fig. 1 and, at the regional level, in Extended Data Table 1.

Layzeeboi (talk) 09:07, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

Oil reserves[edit]

Have most of the people that have said that that we will barely have any oil in the last 50 years of this century largely been discredited? Akuma809 (talk) 23:04, 3 March 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^
  2. ^ McGlade, Christophe; Ekins, Paul (January 2015). "The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2°C". Nature. Macmillan Publishers. 517 (7533): 187–90. PMID 25567285. doi:10.1038/nature14016.