In early 2010, the proven world oil reserves were estimated at 1.345 billion barrels (which is about 1 percent higher than in 2009). Proved reserves of crude oil are the estimated quantities that, according to geological and engineering data, can be recovered in future years from known reservoirs, assuming existing technology and current economic and operating conditions. More than half of the total reserves are located in the Middle East.
When considering the amount of oil reserves, one has to keep in mind that besides the proven oil reserves, there are also unproven oil reserves, meaning that these are, under current economical and technological conditions, unlikely to be recovered. The estimates of proven oil reserves show that there is enough oil to last for about 50 – 150 years, at the current production level.
However, it is reasonable to assume that the consumption level will rise, with the emerging economies in Eastern Asia and the still growing demand from the West. So, preservation efforts might not be a bad idea. In order to achieve this, alternatives have to be developed, which is indeed happening. From biofuel to safer nuclear power, alternatives are being developed globally.
Major producers: Saudi-Arabia, Russia, U.S.A, Iran and China.
Major exporters: Saudi-Arabia, Russia, Norway, Iran and the United Arab Emirates.
Major importers: U.S.A., Japan, China, Germany and South Korea.
Figure 2: Oil Pump