Saudi oil reserves close in on world’s top spot

BP raised its estimates of Saudi Arabia's crude oil reserves at the end of last year by 12%. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 12 June 2019

Saudi oil reserves close in on world’s top spot

  • Saudi proved oil reserves were revised to 297.7 billion barrels
  • Increase due to Kingdom reporting separately oil, gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) reserves

Estimates of Saudi Arabia’s crude oil reserves have increased by 12 percent, closing in on Venezuela’s top spot in the world.

In the first major change to the estimated reserves since 1989, BP revised Saudi Arabia’s proved oil reserves to 297.7 billion barrels at the end of 2018 from 266.2 billion a year earlier, only slightly behind 303 billion in Venezuela.

Canada was third with 168 billion barrels, followed by Iran with 156 billion and Iraq with 147 billion.

 

 In its benchmark 2019 Statistical Review of World Energy, BP recalibrated some Saudi gas reserves as oil after Saudi Arabia started separate reporting of oil, gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) reserves, BP chief economist Spencer Dale said.

Saudi Arabia has begun reporting its reserves as it prepares to float the national energy company Saudi Aramco. The listing was postponed and is now planned for early next decade.

HIGHLIGHTS

• BP revised Saudi Arabia’s proved oil reserves to 297.7 billion barrels at the end of 2018 from 266.2 billion a year earlier.

• BP recalibrated some Saudi gas reserves as oil after KSA started separate reporting of oil, gas and natural gas liquids reserves.

Riyadh has rarely changed its oil reserves estimates in the past, despite pumping 8-10 million barrels per day.

BP also said oil reserves for the US, which became the world’s top producer in 2018, were revised upwards by 22 percent to 61.2 billion barrels from 50 billion barrels at the end of 2017.

Overall, global reserves were little changed at 1,729.7 billion barrels, about 50 years’ supply at current levels of global demand.

FASTFACTS

Saudi oil reserves

Saudi Arabia's proved oil reserves were revised to 297.7 billion barrels at the end of 2018, BP said on Tuesday. The estimate is considerably higher than both its previous estimate and a certification by consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton announced in January. The latter estimate put the Kingdom's proven oil reserves at the end of 2017 at about 268.5 billion barrels, including reserves in the Partitioned Zone jointly owned by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.


Demand issues ‘to overshadow OPEC+ supply next year’

Updated 29 October 2020

Demand issues ‘to overshadow OPEC+ supply next year’

  • Libya's rising production adding to pressure on oil markets

DUBAI: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies will have to contend with a “lot of demand issues” before raising supply in January 2021, given throughput cuts by oil refiners, the head of Saudi Aramco’s trading arm said.
OPEC and its allies plan to raise production by 2 million barrels per day (bpd) from January after record output cuts this year as the coronavirus pandemic hammered demand, taking overall reductions to about 5.7 million bpd. 

“We see stress in refining margins and see a lot of refineries either cutting their refining capacity to 50-60% or a lot of refineries closing,” Ibrahim Al-Buainain said an interview with Gulf Intelligence released on Wednesday.

“I don’t think the (refining) business is sustainable at these rates (refining margins).”

However, Chinese oil demand is likely to remain solid through the fourth quarter and into 2021 as its economy grows while the rest of the world is in negative territory, he added.

Among the uncertainties facing the oil market are rising Libyan output on the supply side and a second wave of global COVID-19 infections, especially in Europe, on the demand side, Al-Buainain said.

Complicating efforts by other OPEC members and allies to curb output, Libyan production is expected to rebound to 1 million bpd in the coming weeks.

Oil prices, meanwhile, fell over 4 percent on Wednesday as surging coronavirus infections in the US and Europe are leading to renewed lockdowns, fanning fears that the unsteady economic recovery will deteriorate.

“Crude oil is under pressure from the increase in COVID-19 cases, especially in Europe,” said Robert Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York.

Brent futures fell $1.91, or 4.6 percent, to $39.29 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude fell $2.05, or 5.2 percent, to $37.52.

Earlier in the day Brent traded to its lowest since Oct. 2 and WTI its lowest since Oct. 5.

Futures pared losses somewhat after the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said a bigger-than-expected 4.3 million barrels of crude oil was put into storage last week, but slightly less than industry data late Tuesday which showed a 4.6 million-barrel build.

However, crude production surged to its highest since July at 11.1 million barrels per day in a record weekly build of 1.2 million bpd, the data showed.

Gasoline demand has also been weak overall, down 10 percent from the four-week average a year ago. US consumption is recovering slowly, especially as millions of people restrict leisure travel with cases surging nationwide.