Today's Trends: Middle East Remains Home to Most Proven Reserves

The Middle East continues to hold the majority of the world's proved oil reserves, although this percentage has declined in the past two decades, according to BP's Statistical Review of World Energy that was published last month.

At the end of 1989, the Middle East held 661.0 billion barrels of oil, or 65.7% of the world's proved oil reserves, and at the end of 1999, the region had 685.8 billion barrels of the world's proved oil reserves, or 63.2%. By the end of last year, the Middle East had 753.7 billion barrels of oil, or about 56.6% of the world's proven oil reserves.

Global proved oil reserves in 1989 totaled 1006.4 billion barrels; a decade later, the world's proved oil reserves totaled 1085.6 billion barrels. At the end of last year, total proven oil reserves worldwide stood at 1333.1 billion barrels.

The Central and South American regions experienced significant growth during that time as the Orinoco heavy oil play in Venezuela and Brazil's deepwater play have expanded the region's production. Proved oil reserves found in the Central and South American regions have grown from 6.9% of the world's proved oil reserves in 1989, or 69.5 billion barrels, to 97.8 billion barrels in 1999, or 9.9% of the world's proved oil reserves, to 198.9 billion barrels, or 14.9% of proven reserves in 2009.

All global regions except North America experienced growth in proved oil reserves from 1989 to 2009. Thanks to its tar sands production, Canada saw its proved oil reserves growth from 52.0 billion barrels in 1989 to 18.3 billion in 1999 and 33.2 billion in 2009. However, the U.S. experienced a decline from 34.3 billion barrels in 1989 to 29.7 billion barrels in 1999 to 28.4 billion barrels in 2009.

Mexico's proved oil reserves experienced the largest decline out of North America, falling from 52.0 billion barrels in 1989 to 21.5 billion barrels in 1999 to 11.9 billion barrels last year. Declining output from Mexico's offshore Cantarell oil field in the Gulf of Mexico lies behind the significant decline in the country's oil reserves.


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Akshat Tarate  |  July 25, 2010
I agree with Steven for pointing out that the reserves have doubled but what we are not looking into are that these figures are estimated and not the realistic figures we see always in out minds. Better Tech leads to newer and deeper oilfield deposits and hence these figures keep on changing!!! :)
Steve  |  July 20, 2010
What about the Bakken in North Dakota?
sundar  |  July 20, 2010
African discoveries are encouraging the proven reserves day by day.Is it?
Steven  |  July 19, 2010
I know this is simple maths....but say we use 50mbpd....over 20 years thats 365000mbarrels...or 365billion barrels consumed...out of 1006billion. So net thats 641 left, yet we now have doubled our reserves to 1333 billion barrels.... So despite using 1/3rd of the known reserves over 20 years the reserves number has actually doubled....... Yet the peak of discoveries was in 1964(?)....since 1989 we have hardly discovered any oil, last I read we were finding 1 barrel for 3 used... and BP is drilling at the limits of technology.... Mexico is great example of what might be more truthful....interesting that the real proven reserves are not really known....yet Mexicos is. So I suspect the real number is somewhere better than mexico but way worse than BPs. Add in that taking good sweet crude oil ie simple to get out of the ground low sulphur we see a EROEI ratio of 30:1. Heavy oil sands, is what 5:1? So to me these numbers look like porkies... I man even if hvy oil sands is a goer, ignoring AGW and the environmental disaster(s) we get 5 barrels out for every 1 put in v 30:1 for sweet crude.....or if you want 30:1 v instead of 29 net barrels of energy we get 24 barrels... Yet wind, tide, geo thermal 14:1 Will heavy oil sands ever be practical? looks not... So I have to ask, is the realistic? regards
obaidur rahman  |  July 19, 2010
Oil reserve in the Middle east is still ahead of all. It will be same with little up & down. Its production cost per barrel is very low. Ghaur field in Saudi Arabia is mother of all field. No country can surpass this at least till 2030.