Funny Numbers

From: Kenneth Piers <>
Date: Wed Aug 18 2004 - 11:56:40 EDT

Looking at the 2004 BP Statistical Review of energy shows up lots of funny
numbers. Here are a couple I found interesting
With respect to tables listing "Proven Reserves" of Oil:
1. of 53 geographical regions covered in the review, the proven reserves of 39
of them were exactly unchanged from the previous year. For example the US is
reported to have 30.7 billion barrels (Bbbl) of proven reserves at the end of
2002 and again at the end of 2003, this despite the fact that domestic
production amounted to 2.7 Bbbl during 2003. Similarly 10 out of 11 of the
Middle Eastern country's reserves are unchanged from the previous year despite
production of some 8.25 Bbbl of oil in 2003 from these nations.
2. eight producing regions listed small declines in oil reserves; 6 listed
small increases in reserves; overall, according to the BP report, world proven
reserves of oil grew from 1146.3 Bbbl in 2002 to 1147.7 Bbbl in 2003; this
despite world production of more than 28 Bbbl of oil in 2003. Remarkably, most
nations, including the US, must be discovering new reserves at exactly the same
rate that we are producing oil.
We seem to have something akin to the Biblical story of the "loaves and the
fishes" going on here with respect to oil reserves. At this rate, world proven
reserves will never decrease, even though we increase production annually.
One other comment. If you go back to the proven reserve numbers published for
the Middle East, these numbers are virtually unchanged for most of the Middle
Eastern countries - including Saudi Arabia - since the late 1980s. So I think
we really can not be at all certain of what such numbers mean. Matt Simmons is
one hundred percent correct when he says we need better data on actual
production rates of all of the major oil producing basins in the world.
ken piers

Ken Piers

"Everything should be as simple as possible - but not simpler." A. Einstein

Received on Wed Aug 18 12:22:18 2004

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