World has tapped
just 18 percent of global oil supplies, Saudi executive says
| September 14 2006
VIENNA, Austria - The world has tapped
only 18 percent of the total global supply of crude, a leading Saudi
oil executive said Wednesday, challenging the notion that supplies are
Abdallah S. Jum’ah, president and CEO of the state-owned Saudi
Arabian Oil Co., known better as Aramco, said the world has the potential
of 4.5 trillion barrels in reserves - enough to power the globe at current
levels of consumption for another 140 years.
Jum’ah challenged oil ministers and petroleum executives at an
OPEC conference in Vienna to step up exploration “and leave the
minimum amount of oil in the ground.”
world has only consumed about 18 percent of its conventional potential,”
Jum’ah said, contending that should lay to rest fears that the
world is in danger of being tapped out within a few decades.
Many experts estimate that the planet’s recoverable oil resource
is at least 3 trillion barrels and potentially more than 4 trillion
barrels. If global consumption rises about 2 percent a year from today’s
levels of about 85 million barrels a day, they say, the low end of that
range would only be enough to last until roughly 2070.
Rex W. Tillerson, the chairman of Exxon Mobil Corp., said world demand
for oil will increase by 50 percent in the next decade.
“When nations threaten to stop this flow, it stops economic progress
worldwide,” Tillerson said.
Industry leaders have gathered this week to take stock of new challenges
at the conference sponsored by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Earlier this week, the 11-nation cartel agreed to leave its current
production target of 28 million barrels a day unchanged, but made clear
it would keep close tabs on falling oil prices and consider a possible
cut in its output quota before the end of the year.
Crude prices have tumbled to five-month lows and have dropped by more
than $12 a barrel since hitting record highs in mid-July. Analysts say
a combination of ample supplies and an easing of political tensions
such as the cessation of hostilities in Lebanon and progress in talks
on Iran’s suspect nuclear program have driven prices lower.
“When prices are high, passions can run high,” Tillerson
said. “Economic nationalism may gain in popularity” at the
expense of developing global markets and the world economy, he said.
“The new era we face, like all of the previous ones, is not an
era of easy oil - nor will it be an era of easy answers. But it can
be an era of continued economic advancement,” he said.
Jum’ah challenged explorationists to find enough new oil resources
to add 1 trillion barrels to world reserves over the next 25 years,
saying new technology and higher recovery rates would make it possible
to hit that target.
Already, he noted, drilling is now going on as deep as 10,000 feet below
the Gulf of Mexico and 7,000 to 8,000 feet elsewhere. Experts say a
newly discovered petroleum pool beneath the Gulf of Mexico eventually
could yield anywhere from 3 billion to 15 billion barrels.
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