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dianahsieh

Who Has The Oil?

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Does anybody know if this map only contains exploitable oil reserves (that is, oil currently reachable by modern technology) or does it contain all known all reserves?

"Exploitable" itself is a vague term because sometimes oil can be reached with technology, but the costs of doing so are so high where the oil cannot be extracted at a profit.

EDIT: I just checked Wikipedia and answered my own question. By definition an oil reserve means that the oil is economically recoverable.

Edited by DarkWaters

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Does anybody know if this map only contains exploitable oil reserves (that is, oil currently reachable by modern technology) or does it contain all known all reserves?

"Exploitable" itself is a vague term because sometimes oil can be reached with technology, but the costs of doing so are so high where the oil cannot be extracted at a profit.

EDIT: I just checked Wikipedia and answered my own question. By definition an oil reserve means that the oil is economically recoverable.

The explicit term for what you're talking about is "proven" reserves. "Original Oil In Place" is usally the term to include all the oil that is there. Interestingly most of this oil is not recoverable with any technology today.

This link specifically states proven reserves, and it's percentages match the table, except for Canada :)

Edited by KendallJ

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This link specifically states proven reserves, and it's percentages match the table, except for Canada :)

I'm pretty sure this map is only showing "conventional" oil. That means the liquid stuff. Canada's reserves are mostly "Oil Sands". The US has lots of Shale Oil also, mostly in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. We're just looking for a more economically viable method of extracting it. Thus the discrepancy between the map and the linked chart.

If we can find a way to extract the oil from Shale (like Ellias Wyatt did in Atlas Shrugged, incidentally), then we'd have 5 times the reserves of Saudi Arabia.

Edited by Regis

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Yes, as others have pointed out: this map shows currently exploitable reserves of oil. This is a number which historically has gone UP every decade as more development and technology comes into play. It should not be confused with the actual amount of oil in the ground.

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If these are proven reserves, then to the extent they are owned by private oil companies, they're likely to be very conservative.

First, a private company (assuming it has publicly traded stock) reports its reserves in its periodic financial reports, which are audited statements, publicly available. There are standard, accepted ways to calculate these reserves. If a company lied in order to inflate its reserves, it would be open to charges of fraud.

Second, if a company owns a producing oil field, then of course that field will contain proven reserves. Suppose they have proven reserves there that will last 10 years at current rates of that field's production. That's enough that they know they aren't going to run out soon; there's no reason to spend money trying to prove more reserves in this field, if they wouldn't be getting around to producing from these additional reserves until 10 years into the future. In other words, a proven reserve is oil you're pretty certain is there; it's oil you can pump today; you've spent the money to ascertain this. Nothing is gained by proving way more reserves than you're going to be needing any time is soon. If the oil is in the ground, you'll get it out in due time.

Look at the reserve figures of oil companies in their annual reports sometime. Often they don't have more than 10 years' worth. But then the next year, even though they've pumped some of that oil, they'll still have 10 years' worth, because they've also done the work to prove some new reserves.

(The same comments apply to mining companies and their ore reserves.)

On the other hand, these comments wouldn't apply to oil reserves of state-owned enterprises. They're under no legal requirement to be truthful about their reserves. In fact, probably there isn't even a public document you can read that would provide audited figures of oil reserves of a country like Saudi Arabia.

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