The Oil Age Journal


OPEC – specifically Saudi Arabia – is often called upon to increase oil exports to cool soaring oil prices and to foster continued growth in global economies. With perhaps as much as a quarter of the World’s remaining conventional oil reserves, will or can Saudi Arabia provide the additional oil production? And if so, how much for how long?

With about 90% of the World’s reported proved oil reserves unaudited by independent third parties, including all of OPEC’s reserves, how much confidence should be placed in Saudi Arabia’s reported proved reserves, which have been essentially flat at about 260 Gb since 1990? In a 2004 public forum Saudi Aramco stated the Kingdom’s ability to produce at a plateaus of 10 Mb/d and 12 Mb/d beyond 2050. This paper asks if these production forecasts are plausible. It re-examines some of the basic parameters of original oil-in-place, discovery trends and recovery factors and concludes that production of 10 Mb/d to mid-century may be possible, but that sustaining 12 Mb/d beyond 2040 may be difficult without significant new discoveries.

In addition, recent information – including on a recent independent audit of Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves, something which has long been needed – is given in the epilogue.

Zagar, J. (2017) Saudi Arabia – Can It Deliver? The Oil Age 3 (2) 15-42

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