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MitonOptimal Weekly Comment - Week 34, 2014A study conducted by Rystad Energy, an independent oil and gas consulting services and business intelligence data firm, estimates that the United States is sitting on more oil reserves than any other country. Surpassing Saudi Arabia’s 212 billion barrels and Russia’s 256 billion, the U.S. has 264 billion barrels of oil in reserve. This comes as American policy pushes for energy independence and the proliferation of fracking and shale oil extraction.

Oil Reserve Measurement
The analysis conducted by the Oslo, Norway-based consulting firm, covered sixty thousand oil fields worldwide over a three-year period. It shows that the total global oil reserves stand at approximately 2.1 trillion barrels, 70 times current production rate of about 30 billion barrels a year. For comparison, all oil produced cumulatively up to 2015 amounts to 1,300 billion barrels. Unconventional oil (e.g. shale, oil sands) recovery accounts for roughly one-third of the global recoverable oil reserves. while offshore accounts for another third of the total. The seven major global oil companies hold less than 10% of the total.

The study further distinguishes between reserves in existing fields, in new projects, from potential reserves in recent discoveries, and in undiscovered but probable oil fields. The large increase in U.S. reserves comes from the combination of estimates in existing oil fields & provable fields plus probably undiscovered reservoirs, with Texas holding approximately a quarter of all undiscovered oil in America.

The study goes on to caution that the current rate of crude oil consumption may be unsustainable in the future:

“This data confirms that there is a relatively limited amount of recoverable oil left on the planet. With the global car-park possibly doubling from 1 billion to 2 billion cars over the next 30 years, it becomes very clear that oil alone cannot satisfy the growing need for individual transport.”

The Bottom Line
Closing in on its goal of energy independence, a study released this week by Rystad Energy suggests that the U.S. now holds the world’s largest reserves of crude oil, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia. With the increase in shale oil production and fracking, the study indicates that American drillers will be able to find large, untapped stocks of oil. More than half of the nation’s remaining oil reserves are to be found in unconventional shale oil, Rystad Energy data show. Texas alone could hold more than 60bn barrels of shale oil.

[Source: Investopedia – By Adam Hayes, CFA – July 5, 2016]


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