The New Global Oil Market: Understanding Energy Issues in the World Economy

By Siamack Shojai | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Global Oil Reserves

Frank W. Millerd


DEFINITION OF RESERVES

Proved or proven reserves are those resources known, with a high degree of certainty, to be present and that can be produced at current prices and with available technology. Reserves are a proportion of resources delineated by increasing degrees of both geological assurance and economic feasibility. A more comprehensive definition is that used by the U.S. Department of Energy:

Reservoirs [of oil] are considered proved if economic producibility is supported by actual production or conclusive formation test, or if economic producibility is supported by core analysis, electric, or log interpretations. The area of a reservoir considered to be proved includes (1) that portion delineated by drilling and defined by gas-oil and/or oil-water contacts, if any: and (2) the immediately adjoining portions not yet drilled, but which can be reasonably judged as economically productive on the basis of available geological and engineering data. Reserves of crude oil which can be produced economically through application of improved recovery techniques, such as fluid injection, are included in this "proved" classification under certain circumstances. It is not necessary that production, gathering, or transportation facilities be installed or operative for a reservoir to be considered proved ( Barnes 1993).

As this definition suggests, proved reserves are a fraction of both the total resources and the total reserves available. Ion ( 1980) lists a hierarchy of resource classifications, beginning with the broadest and moving to the most specific. The resource base is the total amount of the resource occurring in recognizable form; resources are the proportion of the resource base estimated to be recoverable in useful form; reserves are the proportion of the resources economically and technically feasible to recover; possible reserves are those with limited geological

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