Talk:Oil reserves/Archive 1

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Oil reserves is a topic deserving more attention. There are precise definitions that have economic consequence for valuing companies and resources within the broad concept presented here.


Just one little point here... I'm new to wikipedia, but. Given the political nature of this subject, I'd appreciate knowing approximately the viewpoints of the writers. As far as I've understood, the idea of wikipedia is strict peer control and striving for neutrality. Still, there could be a meta-page about the writers/sources and their (self-reflected) opinions and possible biases. Naturally, one might ask what the point is to ask anyone if he lies or not. Still, some kind of background, even given anonymously, about the sources used, would be highly appreciated, and add great value to the reliability of the article. What is the general wiki stand about this kind of issues? Some pages are protected, but that is different: it's only against straightforward sabotage and not a wiki way to protect neutrality. --Sigmundur

Two new users User:Dracken and User:Sleibhine added a large chunk of info to the article at almost the same time: [1]. It may just be a new user who does not know you cant use copyrighted material. The second part was copied from this article [2] and I removed it, I suspect the first part (the "Solutions?" section) was copied from somewhere aswell Astrokey44 12:25, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Well, no point complaining about that. Its time to rewrite it into an encyclopedia form so that it isn't a copyright violation. Would be nice to find the original source of it though. — Wackymacs 15:54, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Looking good[edit]

This article is coming along well, I'm surprised by how much it has grown because of the COTW, there are some really dedicated wikipedians working on this one! — Wackymacs 08:41, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Oil supplies[edit]

Should Oil supplies be merged into this article? Its the same thing isnt it? Astrokey44 08:55, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Sounds like a good proposition, there is quite a bit of information in that other article so it would be good for this article. — Wackymacs 09:45, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
ok ive just done itAstrokey44 11:28, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
There is certaintly a relationship but oil reserves really refer to oil in the ground that can be recovered economically. Oil supply also includes the oil production and processing facilities and the oil delivery systems that provide oil to the end user. When there is a 'shortage' of supply it is more often a problem of the delivery systems than a failure of reserves per se. Crubins 14:03, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
Maybe oil supplies could be a section of this article? Astrokey44 10:24, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree, thanks for adding Crubins 00:23, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Reserves estimate source[edit]

The article states:

"It has been estimated that there is a total of 2,390 billion barrels (380 km³) of crude oil on Earth, of which about 30% has been used so far."

Where does this data come from? There is no clear reference, yet this precise figure would suggest that there should be. --Erik Garrison 15:26, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

It looks like its a sum of the 2004 year end BP Statistical Review of proved reserves (1,188.505 bil bbls) [3] and the top end USGS assessment of undiscovered reserves (1,202.168 bil bbls) [4]. I wasn't able to dig up a source for total historical consumption, but even if the hinted 717ish bil bbbls is correct saying 30% of the existant reserves last year + undiscovered isn't. The article also says:
"Between 1859 and 1968, 200 billion barrels (31 km³) of oil were used. In 2004, as prices reach record highs, world consumption is on track to 30 billion barrels per year."
And then a link [5] is given that just gives Virginia production and consumption figures (?!). Both the 200 bil bbls figure and the hinted 717 bil bbls figure can't be correct, but I don't know which if either is. I'll change the 30 bil bbls/year thing to point to something useful. Scroner 18:35, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Much more than 800 Gb have been produced so far, the figure is around 1000 Gb according to ASPO. The total is oudated (roughly 1998-1999), or it excludes the US (it's often the case with USGS). --Raminagrobis —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:23, 18 December 2006 (UTC).

Oil exploration[edit]

This portion of the article seems to focused to much on Shell Oil's contributions. The discussion should be more general. I would fix it but I lack the expertise and knowledge in this area.

Total depletion[edit]

I think this column should be erased. Reserves are almost *never* totally depleted. Some oil well is Pennsylvannia have being producing oil for more than 100 years. But there production is ridiculous. Production is trending to zero, but almost never gone to nil - in fact, one shut down the wells when they are no more making money, but theorically, small amonts of oil could continue to be produced almost forever.

this is logical, since the Hubbert curve starts and ends to zero but never really reaches it. however, it wouldn't be unscientific to assume a low point to consider as virtually zero. i don't know how those tables were produced though. - some guy
The US has about 400,000 "stripper wells", producing about 15% of US oil production, even though the average production per stripper well is only 4.5 barrels a day. There's a tendency to keep stripper wells going even when production barely pays for running the pump, because when you shut the well down, you have to fill in the well with cement and remove the machinery, which costs money. That's what the slow approach to zero looks like at the wellhead. --John Nagle 17:50, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
What slow approach to zero? Oh, I forgot, you know the future. MrVoluntarist 17:52, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Hey,this is not abstract math.One day wells are shot down.For the very logn term,oil production will continue,and hubert peack is irelevant.Oil is not just energy,it'a also important for the chemistry.But it will be nassacary to put in external energy in order to extracte it.I supose produssing chemical by oil extracted in this mater will be more cost effective,then produssing them by biomass.--Ruber chiken 18:03, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Wells are shut in when the cost of production rises above the value of the oil produced. It take energy to lift oil up from 2000ft below the ground. It takes money to maintain the electric motors, storage tanks, trucks and pumps. That is not to say the wells are abandoned per se, after a few decades the price of oil may rise to make them profitable again, but when they are shut in, the production goes to zero. Carbonate 08:25, 2 July 2006 (UTC)


Are the reserves of ANWR included or not in the estimates of US reserves or not? I'm not sure if they should be if they are, because it's hard to consider untappable reserves as accessable, usable oil reserves. But on the other hand, they exist within US boarders and are thus US oil reserves...even if they aren't being harvested. Just something to check up on... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

For the record, ANWR has 10.4 gigabarrels. 19:40, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
That's a USGS estimate of likely reserves; no actual oil has yet been discovered in ANWR, not one drop. --Geologyguy 03:33, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, nobody really knows what's there until they stick a drill bit into it, and even then they could be wrong. You only really know how much oil is there after you've produced it all. RockyMtnGuy 03:08, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Past production peak?[edit]

I know the chart about production peaks is alleged to come from some reliable source, but at least one entry is patently false, going by normal definitions. The United States, in particular. People stopped drilling in the US, not because of any inherent extractive difficulty, but because new restrictions and regulations made extraction elsewhere more profitble. The chart gives the implication that the US "ran out" when no such thing happened. On this basis, I'll remove the entire chart as tainted in a week unless this is better explained. MrVoluntarist 01:53, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

That events not connected with the amount of oil under ground contributed to the U.S. peak in 1971 does not really alter the fact that the production of oil in U.S. has peaked and declined ever since. As I see your objection, you basically claim that since particular events was the reason for the U.S. peak, the peak is no longer valid? The chart also includes Oil Depletion Midpoint, which displays that U.S. had a peak long before the ODM, so your objection is included in the chart already. I would see your approach as a tainted one, since no charts can give information about every single detail leading to a peak point being different from what would have been expected (the expectation being that peak point and depletion midpoint would be close). That the peak point might have been closer to 1980 if no restrictions had changed the U.S. rate of drilling does not change that the peak in 1971 is a historical fact. --Jakob mark 02:33, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

That the US has passed its conventional oil production peak is a well-known fact in both the industry and in geological circles. However, this does not mean the US has "run out" of oil--it simply means that the with current technologies it is becoming economically unfeasible and geologically difficult to extract much of the remaining conventional oil--this is the normal definition of a "peak." Your point about regulations making oil drilling more difficult is not a valid one--take the Texas example. Regulations in Texas are by no means restrictive, and yet much of the new land-based drilling has stopped (because of dry holes) and most efforts in that area are in off-shore oil, which has yet to be as geologically exhausted as land-based oil.Publicus 14:13, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Back again. I won't delete the chart, but it needs to make very clear that this is only listing when, as a historical matter, extraction peaked, which can be for any number of reasons and does not necessarily bear on capacity for future extraction. Agree? MrVoluntarist 15:36, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Tables appear to only consider conventional oil production, and should be updated to include all petroleum sources (in particular, tar sands in Canada and Venezuela). Provided links (to do not adequately explain how the peak dates were obtained, and in fact directly contradict the table in some cases (e.g., Canada[6]). Table needs to be revised to be correct and have a verifiable methodology. --Bobo159 18:38, 07 August 2006 (UTC)
The peak oil tables are meaningless when applied to non-conventional oil. In the case of Canada, conventional oil production peaked in 1973 and has been declining every since. But total oil production passed the 1973 peak in 1993 and has been rising ever since - and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. There's an insane amount of oil sands there - the main constraint is an acute labor shortage which has driven unemployment rates in Alberta to record low levels and is spreading to the entire Canadian economy. RockyMtnGuy 19:39, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

I'm having trouble figuring out where this table is sourced -- the footnote says it comes mostly from the newsletters of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil And Gas (ASPO): [7] -- which appears to be mostly Colin Campbell (geologist). This is a very non-transparent chart, and Campbell's site is no help -- see, for example, ASPO depletion profiles by country, by Dr. Colin J. Campbell. Campbell himself seems mostly sensible, if a bit dim re the coming boom in tar-sand oil.

I'm also having NPOV problems with the chart's name, "Countries that have already passed their production peak". The headnote helps some, but perhaps it needs an NPOV warning box as well.
Pete Tillman 19:59, 9 December 2006 (UTC) Consulting Geologist

The table is basically meaningless. The sparse data that is there seems to be sourced from the usual industry sources, but for most of the columns the data is misleading, unknown or unknowable. For instance, as I noted above, Canada's oil production supposedly peaked in 1973, but Canada is now producing considerably more oil than it did in 1973 - unconventional oil. As for the other columns - trying to infer the oil production midpoint for countries is hopeless unless you know the production endpoint, which generally you don't. Trying to estimate peak oil sands production is difficult when countries like Canada and Venezuela have a 400-year supply at current rates. The oil shale peak is difficult to infer when the U.S. has produced virtually none of it. And as for the coal peak - Canada has about a 100 year supply of "proven" coal reserves, but the oil companies have found another 2000 years of deep coal formations while drilling for oil. The only country that I think is in danger of running out of coal any time this century is China. RockyMtnGuy 00:35, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
People didn't stop drilling in the USA. This is a urban myth. Check the stats. More wells are drilled in the US than anywhere in the worlds. [8] : In the USA, 37 000 wells were drilled in '05 (most of them for gas, but still 8000 for crude). By comparison, [9] Saudi Arabia has "over 1000 wells". Meaning that the US drilled 8 times more oil wells in one year than Saudi Arabia has in total!
For the regions closed to drilling, they don't explain the peak. Take ANWR. The people who lobbies for drilling into it says in may contain 10 billion barrels. Other says it may have less, not only "peak oilers" but also oil companies such as BP, who is the main operator in the north slope (and, as such, knows the region's oil geology better than you and me) and stopped lobbying for opening the region.
But let's assume there are really 10 Gb there. Let's assume offshore California, Atlantic coast, eastern GOM and onshore protected territories each has 5Gb. So, we assume that 30 Gb are inaccessible because of natural reserves - a very high estimate. The figure has to be compare with the more than 180 Gb produced to date (1859-2005) the the USA. One barrel for every six produced to far. -- Raminagrobis

Oil Reserves by country[edit]

I have deleted the chart titled "Top ten nations by oil reserves" since it is using mixed data and provides a mixed message regarding oil reserves. For instance, in the chart just above "top ten" Canada is listed as having estimated reserves of 4.7 as a low and a high of 178 billion barrels, but in the top ten chart that low estimate is no longer shown and just the higher number is given. Further, the other countries are not treated in a consistent fashion--Saudi Arabia's top ten number uses the lower estimate, as does Iran--but Kuwait's top ten number uses the higher estimate. Therefore, this top ten chart is not especially helpful--especially since the chart above does a much better job of illustrating how the oil reserves number for each country is actually more of a range than a static number.(especially until Canada's reserves are determined)Publicus 12:53, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Reserve estimates are estimates of geological risk. You drill a hole in the ground on the off chance there's something down there. These days, the US looks like a pincushion, so you have to go 100 miles offshore and drill in 5 mile deep water to find someplace nobody else has drilled before. On the other hand, the Canadian oil sands have no geological risk. They cover an area bigger than Florida and everybody knows where they are. You go there, you kick at the ground, and if your boots get all black and sticky, then you've found the oil sands. The only risks are economic. If your production costs are $40/barrel and the world prices is $20/barrel, then you're going to lose your shirt. However, if you beat your costs down to $15 and oil prices go up to $60/bbl, it's like having a license to print money. RockyMtnGuy 08:29, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
I updated the Canadian oil sands bit to reflect current conditions. The old one was so... 1980-ish. RockyMtnGuy 14:53, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

I have taken out the graph listing countries that have peaked in their oil production as the source's information doesn't represent anywhere near what anyone else is claiming and the simple fact that there are many countries on that list that you can look up now as producing more oil than they were when the graph claims that they hit their oil peak and are now declining.

Misleading information from that so called British study.

Is this article relevant?[edit]

Because oil reserves measure the amount of oil economically extractable when considering the price of oil and the current technology, oil reserves vary by the day, and can vary quite considerably. Given this is it even relevant to discuss them?

Good question and observation. But please note that the price of oil is limited. There are alternatives. The simple fact that oil is and has been perhaps too cheap doesn't mean its price can increase endlessly. Oil is not the highest density or best energy source for mankind; it just happens to be the sweetheart now and for the past century. Coal, nuclear, and wind energy can replace oil energy. Perhaps that can't happen smoothly, painlessly, or without price spikes. But in a matter of a few years, with sufficient will, 30 gigabarrels of oil per year (1.74 X 10^17 BTU) can be replaced with 17,000 Palo Verde NGS (3 X 10^12 w-hr per year each = 1 X 10^16 BTU) sized nuclear plants. Is that right? 20:03, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
In principle, it is right (17,000 added nuclear plants running on full power would add the ammount of power used from oil today). However, important caveats include: Nuclear power must be used to produce some sort of energy that can be used in vehicles, requiring a transfer to, say hydrogen pills. If that transfer of power is assumed to work very efficiently, we may eventually be able to get like 80% output. Meaning that we would need 17,000/80% = 21,250 nuclear plants. However, the uranium price has approx. 6-doubled since 2001 (see Uranium), and how high the price would go if we go from 443 plants (of variable sizes) world wide to more than 20,000 plants world wide is anyone's guess. Besides, building 17,000 plants would require 17,000 X $6 billion (about $102 trillion, two to three years of world wide GDP), and employ around 50 million qualified workers world wide. Spending more than 10% of world GDP on nuclear power plants is simply unrealistic, so that alone brings us to 30 years. Having 50 million qualified workers should be feasible within the 30 year time frame, though. Besides, a building spree of this size would make it very hard for steel and concrete factories and other material producers to tag along, we would probably have to expand these sectors very thoroughly, probably bringing the price of each work even higher. So, it would take a whole lot of will, I'd say. --Jakob mark 18:01, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Uranium prices: I'm not sure why the price has spiked, but it sure isn't over the size of the resource: I made my living in uranium exploration for about 15 years. The US uranium-mining industry was killed by all the high-grade, low-cost discoveries in Canada & Australia. Many of these (esp. in Oz) have never been exploited for political reasons. And the US deposits didn' go away -- they will reopen at the right price -- as some of the better ones are now doing. To the usual carping of the anti-nuke crowd, of course....
Pete Tillman 19:37, 18 December 2006 (UTC), Consulting Geologist, Arizona and New Mexico (USA)

Giga vs. Billion[edit]

Hi all. Is there some reason we're using "giga" to reference the number of barrels of oil (i.e. 30 gigabarrels) instead of "billion"? This may be standard terminology in the oil industry but it is confusing to the lay reader. Monkeyman.pngMonkeyman(talk) 17:58, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Gigabarrels is the standard terminology when speaking about oil, so I think it should stay that way. However, I inserted billion barrels the first time gigabarrels are mentioned, hope that does the trick. --Jakob mark 18:05, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Gigabarrels is a rather peculiar greco-anglo-saxon unit and I don't think it's very standard. The US normally uses billions of barrels, Canada normally uses billions of cubic metres, the Europeans mostly use billions of tonnes (except for the Brits who aren't sure what a billion is and prefer long tons). It's hard to find a common ground, but nobody I know uses gigabarrels. In a perfect world we'd all use petajoules. RockyMtnGuy 02:46, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
I work in the oil industry (in the US) and I had never heard "gigabarrels" until I read some Wikipedia articles. I understand what it means, but I wouldn't say it was standard. --Geologyguy 23:53, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
This reminds me of the "Czechia" debate over on Czech Republic. The short-form name is almost never used in real life in the Czech Republic, and it's appearance in any official context is unthinkable, but it has a huge following on Wikipedia. --Smithfarm 11:23, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Words like "billion" are confusing. A billion = 1,000,000,000 in the USA, but A billion = 1,000,000,000,000 in the UK.
According to reliable sources (see Long and short scales) the Brits have officially come around to the American way of thinking. Your mileage may vary, my kilometreage will remain the same. RockyMtnGuy 02:45, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

The reporting agencies (EIA, IEA & OPEC) and most of the consultants and oilco's use mbd (million barrels/day) ,& kpd (thousands) for production and Gb (billion barrels) & Tb (trillion barrels) for reserves. -- 11:09, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Rewrite by an Industry Expert[edit]

This article contains many inaccuracies including terminology and numbers. I am a Geophysicist with 16 years oil industry experience - I will gradually correct most of the mistakes in the near future.

Ala, I like your changes. One thing I don't know about was a statement you endorsed that said geologists are sure the world will eventually run out of oil. Is that saying geologists are sure humans will consume all natural oil deposits? What is the basis for it? Does this deny that there will be no technological substitutes or shifts in preference that make people not want to extract oil due to a low sale price rather high extraction price? If so, how would such a prediction be within a geologist's area of expertise? MrVoluntarist 21:42, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

There will always be some pools which are too small to be economically developed. We are going after smaller sattelite fileds all the time but there is always a limit. With regards to sale price peole will keep pumping just to keep the facilities alive - anybody who lived through the oil field depression in the 1990's will tell you that. Where the price does really matter is when we are considering new projects or enhancements to existing projects. People in western companies are scarred by the experience of the low oil price era and this acts as a break on more speculative investments.

With regard to substitutes ALL of them have significant problems. There are two devices: the Internal combustion engine and the gas turbine which will not be replaced in the foreseable future,there are however alternative fuels. Hydrogen Fool cells have very serious problems which make them unlikely as anything but a spacialised niche product in the next 30-40 years.

1. Non conventional oils eg Tar sand bitumen - economic at $40 per barrel, but very difficult to scale up to meet demand, also serious local environmental damage which is costly to repair. Uses up a lot of energy to manufacture 2. GTL and Coal to liquids - economic at about $ 50 per barrel, again difficult to scale up 3. Biofuels - yes you can supply all of America's if you convert 80% of the midwest breadbasket to growing corn ethanol or canola diesel

The world is developing and becoming more energy hungry, People in China, India and other 3rd world countries are leading much better lives than their ancestors. It is up to people like me to help them

Interesting. Now, what about the questions I asked? MrVoluntarist 21:47, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

3.biodiesel:Algaculture?--Ruber chiken 05:43, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

We will never run out of oil. There will always be at least a small trickle. That small trickle may be expensive to produce and to valuable to use for anything other than the productions of medicines but it will always be available as a trickle.

Also, the environment in the tar sands is often left in far better shape than it was befor extraction. The amount of oil seeping in to the local rivers for example is vastly reduced when you wash all the oil out of the sand.

Switch grass is twice as efficient a source of ethanol than corn. Carbonate 09:39, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

like he sayd.ither you eat,iether you run on your SUV.Algaculture seems to me a more viable option --Ruber chiken 09:47, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

biodesil also requires an acid (sulfuric?) to make it from vegtable oils (which takes enegry to make and leaves polution) Carbonate 08:30, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Hmm. That could work out. Coal liquifaction of high-sulfur coal produces sulfuric acid as a byproduct. --John Nagle 16:13, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

There's a fundamental problem with fuel alcohol. It's one of scale. If you converted ALL of the corn produced by the US to ethanol, you would replace only 12% of the gasoline consumed. So 88% of the people would have to walk to work. And nobody could have corn flakes for breakfast any more so they'd have to walk on an empty stomach. RockyMtnGuy 02:54, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

The feature graph shows oil production not URR (ultimate recoverable resource).-- 11:04, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Canadian reserves[edit]

There was an edit some time ago that changed all refs to "Canada" to "Alberta." Not disputing Alberta's importance, especially in the context of the tar sands, but that made it sound like Canada has no other production or reserves. I made a small change to reflect the other conventional reserves. --Geologyguy 22:39, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

They also messed up the production numbers. They converted 2.4 million barrels per day into 8.8 gigabarrels per year, which is out by a factor of 10. I fixed it. And the substution of "Alberta" for "Canada" when the data is for "oil and products" ignores the fact that, while most of the crude oil comes out of Alberta, most of the refined products come out of refineries in eastern Canada. RockyMtnGuy 02:42, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree, someone with knowledge of this subject should correct these errors. Landroo 04:46, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Greenland oil exploration[edit]

[10] is a Yahoo News article saying that Greenland might have as much as half of Saudi Arabia's oil reserves. Six previous test drillings were not profitable, but with oil prices shooting up and global warming making the region more accessible there is renewed interest. Simesa 21:51, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

They're saying that, based on six dry holes and nothing else, that Greenland might have as much oil as Saudi Arabia. Or not. Probably not. The Canadian Arctic Islands didn't have enough oil to justify a pipeline, and Antarctica is out of bounds, so Greenland is pretty much the last unexplored place on Earth left to drill. After that, there's... Mars, maybe. RockyMtnGuy 23:24, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Saudi wells - stripper wells?[edit]

Hey RockyMtnGuy -- regarding your recent edit, even if Saudi Arabia has passed its peak of production, it will likely be a VERY long time before its wells would be classified as stripper wells at 10 barrels per day or less. Even considering inflated reports etc., by most accounts Saudi's 8 million barrels per day or so comes from about 1500 wells - averaging more than 5000 barrels per day per well. Even with steep declines it will be a while before any of those wells are stripper wells. Cheers --Geologyguy 00:28, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

There is bit of hyperbole in calling them stripper wells. They might never have wells that meet the US definition of a stripper since the Saudis would probably abandon them long before they dropped to 10 barrels per day. A Saudi stripper would only be "a well that is approaching the end of its economically useful life". But the essential concept is that those big Arabian oil fields could be getting old and tired. If you can think of a better way to phrase it, feel free to change it. RockyMtnGuy 03:32, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
See if what I did works for you. I actually expect that "old and tired" is more accurate than the official position, but who am I to say.... so I just tried to make the phrase a little more neutral. Cheers --Geologyguy 13:14, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

I think it is appropriate to point out that Saudi oil fields are based on carbonate rock formations. Combined with the unfortunate use of water flooding, they are likely to undergo catastrophic decline. See "Twilight in the Desert" by Matthew Simmons (a must read) for technical details and historical presidence. Based on other carbonate reserves, 20% or less recovery of original OIP is not unlikely. Carbonate 16:51, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't know. I've seen people get over 60% recovery out of a carbonate field with water flood. The Redwater field near Edmonton, Alberta. Last time I heard, the water cut was up from 0% to 99.4%, but they were still flushing. But that's in Alberta where they do things a bit gentler than in Saudi Arabia. I like Simmons book, too. He might be right. We'll see, now that Prudhoe Bay is shut down, whether they can produce enough oil to keep them Hummer H2's humming. Nobody else can. RockyMtnGuy 06:12, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Venezuela's heavy crude[edit]

I read somewhere that Venezuela has vast reserves of heavy crude oil. The Venezuela article doesn't mention them, nor does this article. The heavy crude oil article itself is a stub. --Smithfarm 11:15, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

It is a bit of gap in the coverage. I tossed in some stuff about Venezuela to help fill it. RockyMtnGuy 05:34, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Publicus edited out a line that said "Despite its obligations to do so, PDVSA has stopped filing reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, so it is difficult to verify actual production". I put it back in with a link to the PDVSA press release on their web site, and the reason why it is important (PDVSA owns Citgo, which owns 14,000 service stations in the U.S.). Note that this failure to file is mentioned in the Wikipedia article on PDVSA along with the information that Moody's has stopped rating them. The SEC is investigating, but what can the U.S. do? Send an aircraft carrier? Well, actually, George W. just might... RockyMtnGuy 23:44, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

I think they confiscate any and all property in the U.S.? Carbonate 00:55, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
For failure to file reports? No, I think not. There are too many American assets in Venezuela. Venezuela would probably confiscate all the American oil companies in Venezuela, and come out ahead on the deal. RockyMtnGuy 05:44, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Interesting that the discussion started with Venezuelan heavy-oil and ended up with confiscating assets. Going back to the point of heavy-oil, the issue is two fold (a) you could argue that most of the deposits accross the Orinoco are not heavy-oil per se, we are rather talking about uncoventional oil (good article on oil sands) which also explains the reluctance to consider it in any estimates as their break even economic point is significantly higher than heavy-oil.

If you look at recent unilateral restructuring of existing contracts by the Chavez government along with tax and royalty increases one could argue that confiscation in Venezuela is in progress. Crubins 13:56, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

The Venezuelans call their non-conventional oil deposits "extra-heavy oil", but in fact there is little difference between them and what the Canadians call oil sands. The new Canadian in-situ technology would probably work very, very well in Venezuela, but with the current political situation in Venezuela, you are more likely to see former PDVSA heavy oil experts working in the Canadian oil sands than Canadian experts working in Venezuela. Look for continued decline in Venezuelan oil production and continued increase in Canadian exports. RockyMtnGuy 19:10, 21 June 2007 (UTC)


The first link, "The End of the World as We Know It" is out of date.

Prudhoe Bay[edit]

A transite pipeline has been taken offline by BP because of corrosion. 5 barrels of oil have been leaked. Should this be reflected in the article?

Carbonate 16:44, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

It is reported extensively at Prudhoe Bay - a leak in a pipeline and shutdown of production hardly seems appropriate in an article about reserves, since neither the leak nor the shutdown have anything to do with reserves. Cheers --Geologyguy 17:07, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, since it took the United States' biggest oil field offline for the indefinite future, and contributed to an already strained supply situation, it seemed worth mentioning. I added a couple of sentences about it. Now, the bigger question is - the U.S. is looking to Saudi Arabia and Mexico to make up the difference. Will they do it, or are their oil reserves just hot air? RockyMtnGuy 20:47, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

UPDATE - it looks like BP will continue to run the East side while fixing the West (and probably the reverse when the time comes). This means a drop of only 200 000 barrels per day. Carbonate 00:57, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Saudi Arabia[edit]

Saudi Arabia's political system is here described as 'medieval', which reflects the values of the authors rather more effectively than it explains why there are risks inherent to continued Saudi domination of world oil supply. Pity that, because some intelligent work has gone into what is an otherwise excellent article. I hope one of the authors will revisit this section and add the something of the depth that the article had exhibited up to that point.

When they stop chopping people's hands off for stealing things and flogging them for adultery, we'll stop calling them medieval. RockyMtnGuy 05:55, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Field accessed in Gulf of Mexico[edit]

As I understand it, the field in the Gulf of Mexico has been suspected for some time but was inaccessable due to it extreme depth (1 mile of water before 6 miles of rock). It was reported that this is the deepest well ever and is producing 6000 barrels a day. Matthew Simmons has already commented on the discovery suggesting that like many other finds in the Gulf region, it may not procduce as much as would be indicated at first. The prohibitive cost and technical hurdles are likely to make this field difficult and slow to bring in to production.

So who wants to write something up for the article?

Carbonate 08:01, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Just to be clear, it is not producing, it tested 6000 b/d. It won't be producing for many years, and the assessment of reserves also must await further testing. --Geologyguy 14:25, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
That's a decent enough well. But it's 175 miles offshore in 7000 feet of water and 20,000 feet of rock. That has to be one expensive oil well (but at these prices, highly affordable). It's great news for Chevron. For the US, maybe not so great. You'd need about 2000 of these wells to make the US self-sufficient again. Chevron proposes to drill one more well in 2007. They may have some production by 2010. The EIA has assumed that companies will find a bunch of new fields in the GOM, so it's already accounted for in their estimates of future production. RockyMtnGuy 14:59, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
Further clarification to above, it is definitely not the "deepest well ever" - at 27,175 ft, it's really deep, but there are many wells (including producing wells) deeper than that; I think the deepest production is from over 30,000 ft, in Oklahoma. At 7000 ft of water, that's also remarkably deep, but Shell's Coulomb field produces in the Gulf of Mexico from about 7600 ft of water, and I believe the world record water depth for production is in Brazil. --Geologyguy 15:15, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Just some things to keep in mind: The fact that the oil well won't come online for a few years doesn't change the fact that it has impacted prices now. It has pulled down bids for oil futures, which traces back to the pump price. Also, it's essentially irrelevant to the matter of the US's self-sufficiency on oil. Oil hits the world market and is sold at market rates. Some American oil is sold elsewhere, lots of oil outside America is sold in America. MrVoluntarist 17:16, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

And to expand on this good observation a bit: The US exports (June 2006) just 33,000 barrels of crude oil per day (vs 11,153,000 barrels per day imported crude in Aug. 2006), all of it to Canada; most is probably refined and returned to us as gasoline. The US exports considerably more refined product (1,310,000 barrels per day), though this is a small amount compared to total US imports (12,801,000 b/d June 2006, Crude+Products). Most of the exported product is petroleum coke (a solid residue sometimes used for fuel) and various distillates. Canada and Mexico are the largest importers of US exported petroleum products. --Geologyguy 17:49, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
Further expansion, the U.S. imports 14% of its refined products (gasoline, diesel, heating oil, &c) with half of those imports coming from Canada (7% of all refined products). Canada both exports and imports oil. Oil flows to the U.S. from Alberta while Ontario and Quebec import from around the world, just because that is the way the pipelines are set up to handle things. Iran imports more than half of its gasoline, while the U.S. exports oil to be refined in the various islands in the caribean.
Although this may have affected current prices, this is unlikely to remain so for long as it quickly becomes old news on the trading floor. And its news may even have negative effects if it delays the U.S. moving to more efficent energy useage. Although the size of the reserve is impressive, RockyMtnGuy makes a good point about needing 2000 wells all running at that tested 6000bls per day. Oil wells in a field generally don't all produce at the same level (you can drill dry ones even in a well established field) and each well follows its own production curve which can also vary widely within a field. Carbonate 23:25, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm a little confused about the point of needing 2000 wells producing 6000 bbls per day. To meet the demand for U.S. imports? From one field? Even with reserves at the upper end of 15,000,000,000 bbls (the P90, I'm assuming), this of course would not meet U.S. demand. To do that, other areas such as ANWAR, the Gulf Coast of Florida, offshore California (which at one time had the world's first offshore derricks, I believe), and oil shales in the Rockies (which some same wouldn't be profitable until oil reaches $100/bbl) would need to be explored if non-importation is the goal. Also, wouldn't test wells have much lower flow rates than what would be possible for the production rates of wells for the production unit (e.g. an FPSO)? Just wondering. Thanks Ufwuct 02:02, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Production rates will depend on all sorts of things, including the nature of the drive (water, gas), the amount of natural pressure, the total estimated volume, the nature of the reservoir (fractured, highly porous, whatever). Even if this one field contains the 15 billion barrels (which I think they really meant the whole play might have at P90 that much - this field is more likely to have 500 million to 1 billion bbl), it would not likely be produced at more than 1.5 million barrels per day; to produce more, even if technically possible, would irrevocably damage the formation and would drastically reduce the ultimate recoverable output. This is what has happened time and time again, in 1870's Pennsylvania, at Texas' Spindletop in 1901 (which initially produced around 100,000 barrels per day, but rampant overdrilling rapidly depleted the pressure, and it peaked within 2-3 years and then precipitously declined, leaving much oil unretrievable), in many Russian fields, and possibly in Saudi Arabia. 1.5 million b/d is 7% of current US demand - a great help, but no panacea. With demand growth of 1%-3% per year, of course we'll be using more than today's 21 million b/d 6 years or so from now when this comes on stream. Cheers --Geologyguy 02:23, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

I would have thought that the reserve estimates were for the amount recoverable. I guess I assumed 3 billion barrels was the P10 (though this would be very, very high for a P10 for just one OPL). It's hard to interpret these initial press releases.
I also don't see Chevron trying to produce as much per day as possible, but recovering as much from the field over time as is possible. I also don't think they'll come anywhere near that 1.5MMbbls/day, probably something closer to 300,000. I couldn't imagine any of these companies involved (and I assume Chevron will be the operator) wanting to worry about reinjecting 1.5 million bbls of seawater per day. That would be too much of a headache. (I'm also assuming that they won't reinject gas (because this is in the Gulf of Mexico and not offshore of BFE-istan), and that this will be recovered and sent onshore via pipeline, though I have heard how many Tcf of gas might be in this mammoth of a field.) Thanks for your input. Ufwuct 15:17, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the estimate is for recoverable oil - for the whole play (see here - [11]), not just this one field. I think all your observations are very reasonable, but the specifics need to wait until the field is properly evaluated. My scenario for 1.5 million b/d was IF all that 15 billion barrels was in one field - Prudhoe Bay, with 13 billion barrels, at its peak (1980-87) produced about 1.5 million b/d. But it will depend on all those other things too, especially reservoir properties (and, as you say, the amount of gas, and water, etc), as to what production rate is chosen. Cheers Geologyguy 15:48, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
Historically just about every oil discovery has been overproduced. The reason for this is usually because the capital investment is expected to return better than interest rates. I would say that one exception for this has in fact been prudhoe bay based on the production graphs in Twillight in the Desert (it was the only one with a square top). SaudiAramco is certianly producing at a rate that will minize the ultimately recoverable reserves (I belive Simmons said something like <21% but for some reason I am remembering <5%? but I don't have the book here to check atm). Carbonate 04:19, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't remember either (and I've given my copy of Twilight away) but I think the ultimate recoverable was something like 20-25% for the saudi fields, which is low enough already. Simmons may have had some speculative figures based on worst-case water invasion etc. There was just too much in that book, I don't remember a LOT of it!! Cheers Geologyguy 04:48, 12 December 2006 (UTC)


I chopped out all of the reserves section of pemex and started subsections if anyone knows more about it? I recently read an article talking about a catastrophic decline in their field but I have to go back and find it... Carbonate 09:09, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

It would be useful to have some recent information, if you can find it. Pemex produces most of its oil from Cantarell, which the second biggest oil field in the world by production. They have been maintaining production rates through a massive nitrogen injection project (can you spell overproduction), so it has been widely expected to go into the toilet in a major way in the near future. Cantarell is unique in that the field is actually in the crater produced by the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, so they're not likely to find another one in the Gulf of Mexico. RockyMtnGuy 15:31, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
Not disputing anything else you say, but the Cantarell fields are not in the Chicxulub Crater, which is about 190 miles northeast of the fields. It is usually interpreted that the brecciated rocks at the Cantarell Field complex were fractured by landslides and such associated with the impact. It's also pretty generally believed that the fields are in decline, possibly very sharp decline [12]. Cheers Geologyguy 18:14, 13 December 2006 (UTC) Yikes! Carbonate 23:01, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Actually, these predictions from Pemex of a 14% annual decline may be overoptimistic. There's a report out there from Reuters that says production from Cantarell actually dropped 10% in the FIRST HALF of 2006. Nitrogen breakthrough in part of the field. And study from Pemex was leaked that says, as a worst case production might drop 50% by the end of 2007 and 75% by the end of 2008 because the distance between the gas cap and the water layer is rapidly approaching zero. We'll see. RockyMtnGuy 23:31, 15 December 2006 (UTC)


The CIA World Factbook lists 1,349,000,000,000 barrels of proven reserves. The article states the number at 2000 to 2400 gigabarrels. Why the major discrepancy? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Audacity (talkcontribs) 00:48, 18 December 2006 (UTC).

You're comparing apples and oranges. The CIA World Factbook is talking about proved reserves, which are oil that has already been found, whereas Campbell (I believe, the article doesn't cite its references completely enough to identify them) is talking about ultimate reserves, which is oil we might find, but we haven't found it yet. Neither is particularly useful unless you state what price you expect to get and what technology you expect to use. And then there's the oil sands wild card. Canada has 1.7 or so barrels of the stuff (of which only 175 billion barrels are established, which is yet another definition, and Venezuela has similar sized reserves. So, basically it's comparing apples, oranges, bananas and watermellons. RockyMtnGuy 23:55, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Danish oil reserves[edit]

Is there any particular reason why Denmark is not included in this list? Unfortunately, I don't have the figures myself. Valentinian (talk) / (contribs) 11:21, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Here [13] are the figures - approx. 1.2 gigabarrels reserves. But I don't know if Denmark has passed its production peak, so I don't know where in this page the info should go. Geologyguy 15:07, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
This topic is out of my normal areas of expertise, but the issue about the production peaking or not has occationally been debated in major newspapers. Many seem to suggest that the North Sea might have peaked but that major finds could be made East or West of Greenland. I've located a few official publications, perhaps you can make more sense of them than I? They are from the Danish Energy Authority: "Oil and Gas Production in Denmark 2005" ( Figure 2.2 on page 15 (p. 13 in the printed version) seems to suggest a peak in 2004. The trends seems confirmed by a prognosis for the next five years of oil extraction ( The latter publication presents three scenarios on page 3, but it looks to me like the Danish sector of the North Sea has topped in all three scenarios. Of course there is always the potential for more oil finds both in the North Sea, near the Faroe Islands or East or West of Greenland. Valentinian (talk) / (contribs) 16:55, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the refs, I'll take a look (but not immediately). Personally, I would be reluctant to claim a peak for any basin or nation or even most fields at a time as close as the most recent 2-3 years. I don't think there is much debate that the North Sea, overall, has peaked, but Denmark in particular has such small production, a single new moderate field could make a large difference. "Peaks" can really only be truly defined in a historical context, even though predictions can be (and sometimes are) quite accurate. It's easier to do for a field, a single basin, etc., than globally, hence the degree of discussion and argument. Cheers and thanks. -- Geologyguy 17:03, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Glad to help. I agree completely with your conclusion. Valentinian (talk) / (contribs) 17:11, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

the table of future reserves[edit]

should the table of possible reserves (ie lowest and highest estimates by country) have the scale listed? - Im.a.lumberjack 23:03, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Accounting for Offshore Oil[edit]

According to The Economist ( ), there are many more billions of barrels in the offshore oil fields. It says in the article 19 billion barrels, but 86 bn in the picture, and I don't quite see the reason for the discrepancy. Anybody have any data on the matter? Offshore oil should most certainly be included in the national reserves. I looked at the Statistical Abstract of the United States and it listed 21 bn total barrels for national reserves, including 4bn under federal jurisdiction, suggesting that offshore oil reserves were not included, if The Economist figures are to be trusted.

I can't say anything about the sources used by The Economist, nor the Statistical Abstract of the United States, but the figures quoted in this article for the US, from the Energy Info. Administration, certainly include reserves and reserve estimates for US offshore areas. I would expect that routinely, most countries would include prospective offshore areas in their reserve calculations. There does tend to be a larger volume of unproven reserves in many offshore areas, but they are usually estimated rather well based on geological and technical parameters. cheers Geologyguy 01:14, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
It's comparing apples, oranges, and zucchinis. The 86 billion barrels is probably what we who make a living telling oil companies what they already know call a SWAG (Scientific Wild-Ass Guess). It's some variation on potential reserves, or P10, meaning it has a 10% probability of being produced. (I.e. they're counting their chickens before the eggs are laid, never mind hatched.) Now, reading the actual article, they appear to be saying that 19 billion barrels are in areas closed to exploration, with the implication that the rest (67 billion barrels) is in areas already open to development. On the other hand, the figure of 21 billion barrels is the proved oil reserves of the U.S., i.e. oil we definitely know is there, and of that about 16 billion barrels is onshore and 5 billion barrels is offshore. There's probably more than that out there, but it's way out there and way deep. RockyMtnGuy 02:01, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

This looks interesting[edit]

According to this link oil production in Saudi Arabia fell by 8% during 2006. G-Man * 20:33, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

copied from Talk:Hubbert peak theory by -- 14:00, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
That's correct, Saudi Arabian production did fall during 2006. There are two possibilities, 1) It was a production cutback to support higher prices, or 2) Saudi Arabia is starting a terminal production decline similar to the one the U.S. started in 1970 (U.S. production is now only half of what it was back then.) The Saudis claim it is the former, those who believe in the Hubbert Peak theory and Matthew Simmons book "Twilight in the Desert" believe it is the latter. RockyMtnGuy 00:43, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
Most likely it's the latter. On April 10, 2006 Saudi Aramco announced that Saudi Arabia's mature oilfields "are expected to decline at a gross average rate of 8 percent a year without additional maintenance and drilling." Certainly all of their largest oil fields are in decline - they have been pumping in salt water since the mid-80's. Ghawar Field, their largest reserve, is losing at 8% per year now. Kgrr 15:47, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Kuwait lost 6 billion barrels?[edit]

The suspicious OPEC numbers section says Kuwait lost 6 billion barrels in the fires, but the article about that says it lost 6 million brl/day. And it didn't last 1000 days...? Medico80 21:24, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

Good observation, that does smell of BS. Will mark it for citation. --Claygate 02:30, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
They were not even able to produce oil at that rate. There are very few oil fields that can pump at more than 1 mb/day, so how can they burn it at 6 mb/d? Maybe they used this opportunity to reduce their inflated reserve estimates. Kgrr 15:38, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Obviously, if you just blow the top off a well and set the oil on fire, you can produce it a lot faster than if you have to run it through a processing facility and store it in tanks. You don't normally run oil fields at their maximum open-flow capacity, because you will seriously damage the oil reservoir in the process (which no doubt happened in Kuwait).
I did a quick search on Google, and it looks like the fires consumed 4 to 5 million barrels/day, versus a prewar production 2 million barrels/day. However, Kuwait lost only about 2% of its stated oil reserves of 100 billion barrels, which would be 2 billion barrels. A more serious concern is that Kuwait has probably overestimated its reserves by 50 billion barrels, and lately its production has fallen to 1.7 million bpd. In other words, they've already produced most of their oil, they're on the downslope of the production curve, and from here on it just gets steeper. RockyMtnGuy 03:04, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
I think you may want to check your use of billion / million above :-) Medico80 11:34, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
Duly corrected. RockyMtnGuy 02:03, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Oil Fields > 10bb[edit]

I am working on the following table for the Peak oil page. Does anyone have more reliable data and references to fill-in this table? Kgrr 15:53, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Hi, As far as I know Russian Samotlor field is not in decline. 07:34, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Samotlar peaked at 7 million b/d in 1980 and fell to about a tenth of that by 1996. However, like most Russian oil fields, it was badly mismanaged and only a tiny fraction of the oil in place was recovered. BP took an interest (see and has built up production by using modern Western technology, although it is producing nowhere near its peak rate. Given the political climate in Russia, it is questionable how much more Western technology will be used in future. In the absence of such, the field will go into decline again. RockyMtnGuy 18:05, 29 July 2007 (UTC)
Oil fields > 10bb
Field Country Discovered Started Production Peaked Billion Barrels Production (mb/day) Rate of Decline
Ghawar Field Saudi Arabia 1948[1] 1951[1] 2005[2] 75-83[3][4] 5[5] 8% per year
Burgan Field Kuwait 1938 1948 2005[6] 66-72[7][4] 1.7[8] 14% per year
Cantarell Field Mexico 1976 1981 2004[9] 35[4], 18 billion recoverable 1.4 (2006)[10] 15% per year[10]
Bolivar Coastal Field Venezuela 1917 30-32[4] 2.6-3[4]
Safaniya-Khafji Field Saudi Arabia/Neutral Zone 1951 30
Rumaila Field Iraq 1953 20[4] *civil war
Tengiz Field Kazakhstan 1979 1993 15-26[4] .53[4]
Ahwaz Field Iran 1958 1960 in decline 17 .16[11] 64% per year
Kirkuk Field Iraq 1927 2000 16
Marun Field Iran 1963 16
Daqing Field China 1959 1960 2004[12] 16 1
Gachsaran Field Iran 1928 15
Agha Jari Field Iran 1937 14
Samotlor Field West Siberia, Russia in decline 14-16 9% per year
Prudhoe Bay Alaska 1969 in decline 13 0.9 11% per year
Kashagan Field Kazakhstan 13
Abqaiq Field Saudi Arabia 12 0.43[13]
Romashkino Field Volga-Ural, Russia in decline 12-14
Chicontepec Field Mexico 12
Berri Field Saudi Arabia 12
Zakum Field Abu Dhabi, UAE 12
Manifa Field Saudi Arabia 11
Faroozan-Marjan Field Saudi Arabia/Iran 10
Marlim Field Campos, Brazil in decline 10-14 8% per year[14]

East Timor is an oil country too, please include[edit]

East Timor is an oil country too, please include it in the list (e.g. with unclassified, ...)

Talk:Oil reserves/Draft table[edit]

I moved the extremely incomplete, and heavily disputed table to Talk:Oil reserves/Draft table where it can be developed. Please discuss it here once it is completed, and then neutrality issues can be resolved before it is reinserted. Savidan 04:45, 16 July 2007 (UTC)


May I suggest that the near-edit war between Belligero and Savedthat be discussed here on the talk page? I have not seen any kind of discussion, even in the edit summaries. Please do so. Cheers Geologyguy 17:03, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Discuss your edits, Savedthat[edit]

While you may feel it necessary to entirely rewrite the article, that really isn't the proper way to handle it. Please discuss your edits. Publicus 18:39, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

I'm also requesting full protection until this gets sorted out. Publicus 18:44, 24 July 2007 (UTC)


A major producer of oil that should get a section in the article


Proven versus probable versus possible[edit]

Okay, everybody. Read the definitions of reserve categories at the top of the article before quoting some talking head on the nightly news about new oil discoveries on Mars. In particular, 1) IHS report that there may be another 100 million bbls of oil in Iraq. Maybe there is, maybe there isn't. This is Possible reserves, P10 or 10% probability of being produced. Someone will have to drill some wells to find out, and nobody wants to risk drilling rigs and crews in a war zone. 2) There may be 25% of the worlds oil reserves in the Arctic Ocean. This is an Urban Legend or P0. According to the Economist, see this is usually attributed to the U.S. Geological Survey, but the USGS has never done a study of Arctic reserves and knows nothing about it. I personally worked for a company that ran a drilling fleet of 26 ships in the high Arctic for some years, and we spend billions but found diddly-squat squat up there. RockyMtnGuy 00:16, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

On the subject of proven, probable, and possible reserves, you've invoked the definitions as they were intended, not in practice for the majority of the world's 'reserves'. I realize that you discuss some countries' shortfalls further down in the article, but it is not correct to discuss them as "considered by experts in the industry" when there is no evidence for many of the political posturing. "Claim" is more valid when discussing how the practice works in real life. --Skyemoor 01:44, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
It doesn't help to use the words claim and allege because that doesn't clarify anything. Exploring for oil is more akin to a crapshoot than a court case. When oil experts use the term proven, they are using it in the old English sense of tested, not proven beyond a reasonable doubt. They mean that someone has sunk a drill bit into the ground and determined that is oil at that particular point. Nobody knows with absolute certainly exactly how much there is and whether they can get out at reasonable cost. Poorer countries can afford to drill fewer wells than rich countries, but that's where most of the undiscovered oil is.
  • Proven or P90 means that there is a 10% chance the oil doesn't really exist, so you get surprises. However, it is unnecessarily conservative for planning purposes because it means there is a 90% chance that there is more oil than you reported. Believe it or not, that's usually the case. There's really a lot more oil out there that people haven't found yet. We just don't know where it is, but we can make guesses. We can make a really good guess that it's not in the U.S. because there have been over a million oil wells drilled.
  • Probable or p50 is more realistic, because there's a 50% chance that there's more oil there, and a 50% chance that there's less. If you're a gambling man, that's what you'll go with. You don't fold because you only have two aces and you don't know where the other two are. And, if you're a government planner that's what you should use (with a Plan B in case it's really a lot less than you thought). However, if you're a U.S. government planner, there is also a 90% probability that the government that owns it is not really friendly to the U.S. That isn't covered by reserve classifications.
  • Possible or P90 is living on the edge. Only about 10% of these prospects will turn out to be real. Unfortunately a lot of people read about these prospects and think they are real. Some of them are, most of them will turn out to be hot air. However, oilmen like these prospects because they are gamblers and the 1 that comes in big pays for the 9 that come up dry. However, for other people it's not good to take them seriously. It's like leaving your umbrella at home because there's a 90% chance of rain - and a 10% chance it might not. Unfortunately, a lot of politicians and bureaucrats seem to be among the people who would leave their umbrella home if there was a 90% chance of rain.
So, based on the above you can assume that there's a 90% chance that U.S. reserves are pretty accurate, and a 50% chance that OPEC ones are. However, what are the chances that foreign governments are wildly overoptimistic? And there's always the chance that some country is sitting on the mother of all oil fields and doesn't know it. RockyMtnGuy 19:54, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
I see nothing above that lends any credence to your speculation that OPEC reserve estimates have a 50% chance of being correct. There is no field by field data available and the recent Kuwaiti yoyo declarations (and Shell's announcement that they were overreporting by 20%) should clarify this point. All that is clear is protection of quota percentages. --Skyemoor 01:32, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, there might well may be a lot of air space in official OPEC reserve estimates, however the real question is "How much air space?" There is field-by-field data available, the question is, "Is it credible?" There is an internal document floating around that indicated that Kuwaiti reserves were actually half what they stated, but I don't think it would meet Wikipedia's standards for citing sources. Shell's announcement basically said that 20% of their proven (P90) reserves were actually just possible (P50) reserves. On the other hand, Shell bought its way into some Canadian oil sands property that potentially could be huge. Ultimately, though, reserves don't mean anything if you can't get them out of the ground. It's difficult to produce oil in a war zone. RockyMtnGuy 01:56, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
Where is the 3rd party audited field by field data for Middle Eastern OPEC nations, especially Saudia Arabia? --Skyemoor 18:48, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
Of course, Saudi Arabia and the other big OPEC producers don't let anybody audit their data, which is unfortunate because OPEC is sitting on most of the world's conventional oil. The closest you can come is Mathew Simmons' book Twilight in the Desert, in which he reviewed a hundred or so published papers on Saudi Arabia's top 12 oil fields, and came to the conclusion that things don't look so good out there in the desert. However, it is a sweeping generalization to think that this applies to all oil producers. If you take the country with the second largest reserves, Canada, for a fist full of dollars you can order a CD-ROM with detailed data from most of the wells in the country and, if that isn't convincing, if you resemble a geologist you can go to a government core lab and look at samples from the wells. So, the data integrity and auditability varies drastically from country to country. Not all of it is bad data. It's not reasonable to apply equivocal language to all the reserve estimates, just some of them. RockyMtnGuy 04:53, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
I've read Twilight in the Desert, which is why I asked the question about reliable data for oil reserves in the first place. Canada's oil well data is a small percentage of their reserves, the vast majority of which are tar sands that are difficult to extract and process. I repeat, I see nothing that lends credence to your speculation that OPEC reserve estimates have a 50% chance of being correct. --Skyemoor 10:44, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
The Canadian oil sands reserve estimates are based on 19,000 wells, if I recall correctly, which have been drilled through the sands and into the underlying formations. You can get the data on a CD-ROM for $500 in case you want to start mining. As for the other, oh 200,000 wells or so, you can get the data on them too, although it will cost you more money. The oil sands are indeed difficult to extract and process, but at $70+ per barrel, having an oil sands plant is like having a license to print money, which is why there is a $150 billion oil sands stampede in progress. Now, the 50% confidence factor for Saudi Arabia is a bit more problematic. They may be fudging the numbers and have only half the oil they claim, which is a problem, but that's still a lot of oil. And they also have oil sands, they just don't know how to get it out of the ground. I mean, there's a lot more oil around than reserve numbers indicate, it's just that people don't know how to produce it. The Alberta government spend about $1 billion in research money to add about $13 trillion in reserves. That takes confidence and smarts. Are the Arabs up to that kind of thing? RockyMtnGuy 16:27, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
I mean, there's a lot more oil around than reserve numbers indicate, it's just that people don't know how to produce it. I'm not sure where you are getting your information from; is this intended to be material for the article or are you simply expressing your opinion. If the latter, a forum would be a better place. If the former, then you would need to provide verifiable sources to contradict the obvious inflation of oil reserve estimates. --Skyemoor 01:58, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Well, first of all we are still finding about 10 billion barrels of new oil a year, although that's much lower than the 60 billion barrels a year we used to find in the 60's, and much less than the 30 billion barrels/year we consume. Secondly, reserve numbers only include 30-35% of the oil in place, if prices are high we can go back, redrill the old fields, and use exotic chemicals and heat to get more out. Thirdly, they don't include the marginal fringes of the oil sands, some rubbly stuff holding huge amounts of oil that nobody knows how to produce but I'm sure we could figure out if someone gave us enough money. And fourthly they don't include oil shales. This is all based on stuff I've done research on in the past, I'm sure people will keep doing research in the future. (And by research I don't mean what Wikipedia calls "original research" which appears to mean independent thinking). RockyMtnGuy 17:16, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

When will oil run out[edit]

Just wanted to know. ? Muntuwandi 04:54, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

No one can say for sure; many experts say that we are at or near peak production, after which oil will become increasingly scarce and expensive. --Skyemoor 01:34, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
Oil will never run out because, as I am fond of pointing out to people, you can convert anything to oil given enough time and enough money. However, you might run out of money if you aren't careful. As for the peak of production, someone else pointed out that it's something you'll see in your rear-view mirror. If it peaks in 2007, you'll know by 2017, or 2027 at the latest. RockyMtnGuy 16:53, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
It will never run out even if you don't convert anything to it. The problem is not running out per se but getting extremely expensive to be useful in modern economies. i.e. demand being so high compared to supply that it's pointless using it after a point (especially for energy) other than essential uses, such as plastics for high technology. To say it in more scientific terms, it's a lot related to energy. Since at the current point it's mainly used for energy, the energy used to extract it, process it and use it must never be higher or even equal to the one getting back if you want to use it as a primary energy source. etc. etc. --Leladax (talk) 22:56, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

What About Russia?[edit]

I read in "International Business" 10ed. Daniels, John Et.Al. 2004, that Russia´s Oil Reserves are, as of 2001, bigger than Saudi Arabia's. --Crio de la Paz 03:22, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Not likely - three different, reputable estimators here indicate 74, 60, or 74 billion barrels for Russia vs. 264, 262, or 264 billion barrels for Saudi Arabia. Of course, there are problems inherent in making reserve estimates, but... cheers Geologyguy 03:28, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

So sorry: I misread: it´s Russias Oil Production that was, at least in 2001, according to that book, bigger that Saudi Arabia´s and I also just checked that they seem to be overproducing?, Thanks!--Crio de la Paz 03:32, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Ah. As to production, Russia (or, sometimes reported as all Former Soviet Union, which would also include Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, etc - but about 93% is from Russia) -- anyway, Russia routinely produces more than Saudi Arabia, though not every month. In the 1980s the Soviet Union produced on the order of 12 million barrels per day, when Saudi Arabia was doing 8 or 9. The EIA, here indicates that Russia has been producing less than Saudi on an annual basis for the past several years, at least. But not hugely less. Cheers Geologyguy 03:38, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
Russian production peaked at over 12 million bbl/d in 1988, then fell to 6 million bpd in 1999 after the Soviet Union collapsed, and had risen back to 9.7 in 2006. This compares to 10.7 in 2006 for Saudi Arabia, which has been generally ahead for around a decade but has been varying production up and down trying to manipulate the market. Both are trying to increase production at the moment, but I think both are having technical problems doing so (Russia has damaged its fields by overproducing them during the Communist era, Saudi Arabia's appear to be suffering from natural decline and water invasion problems). Russia's production standards are not of the highest quality, so I think they are probably still damaging their oil fields. RockyMtnGuy 21:38, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Oil reserves/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Class B and Top importance seems to be up to date. For Higher assessment, please list this article for WP:GAN Beagel (talk) 18:44, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Last edited at 18:44, 10 December 2008 (UTC).

Substituted at 21:49, 3 May 2016 (UTC)