The world’s oil supply is running out – although the last oil well is not expected to be exhausted any time soon.
Oil producers are pumping the precious black gold out of the ground and from beneath the sea at the rate of 30 billion barrels a day.
But if that rate is maintained, the 60,000 oil fields worldwide with a recoverable 2.1 trillion barrels in reserve will be drained in 70 years.
The revelation came from a run of the mill report by Norwegian consultants Rystad Energy which looked at recoverable oil assets worldwide.
The study found that the USA is the world’s leading oil power with an estimated 264 billion recoverable barrels from existing fields, discoveries and undiscovered fields.
Saudi Arabia has 212 billion barrels, while Russia is third with 256 billion barrels.
The report adds a twist as unconventional oil, such as that recovered from shale fields, now accounts for close to a third of global reserves. Offshore fields accounts for another third.
Another surprise if that the seven largest international oil companies also hold 10% of all recoverable oil.
Half of the US oil reserves are held in unconventional reserves, with the state of Texas holding more than 60 billion barrels of shale oil, the report adds.
The rise of taking oil from unconventional reserves is blamed for the plunge in world oil prices, says the report.
Saudi Arabia led the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC) in a bid to price unconventional oil out of the market by increasing production.
Limited amount of recoverable oil
The huge oil surplus saw the price per barrel drop from more than $100 to a low of $28 earlier this year. Prices have recovered thanks to events that have curtailed production in Canada and Nigeria.
“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,” says the report.
Rystad also explained calculating the reserves was complicated as different companies and governments record the figures in varying ways, with some including undiscovered reserves and others only counting discovered fields.