Oil Resource Base Continues to Expand

Over the coming decades, energy sources will continue to evolve and diversify, driven by changes in technology, consumer needs, and public policies. On the other hand liquid supplies, referring primarily crude oil, are projected to remain the single biggest source of energy and vital to transportation.

2014.03.11 - Oil Resource Base Continues to Expand Figure 1

Ongoing advances in exploration and production technology continue to expand the size of the world’s recoverable crude and condensate resources. Despite rising liquids production, according to ExxonMobil report “The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040”, it is estimated that by 2040, about 65 percent of the world’s recoverable crude and condensate resource base will have yet to be produced.

Even as global oil production rises, the estimated size of the global recoverable resource base continues to increase as a result of advancements in science and technology that have enabled the production of new sources of liquid fuels. In the early 1980s, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that there were 55 years of crude and condensate supply given the demand at that time. In 2012, that estimate had risen to 125 years with current increased production.

Globally, while conventional crude production will likely decline slightly until 2040, this decline will be more than offset by rising production from supply sources enabled by new technologies, including tight oil, deepwater and oil sands.

North American liquids production is expected to rise by more than 40 percent from 2010 to 2040, boosted by gains in oil sands, tight oil and NGLs. With production rising and demand falling, North America is expected to shift from a significant crude oil importer to a fairly balanced position by 2030.

Latin American liquids production will nearly double through 2040 with the development of the Venezuelan oil sands, Brazilian deepwater and biofuels.

The Middle East is expected to have the largest absolute growth in liquids production over the Outlook period, which is an increase of more than 35 percent. This increase will be due to conventional oil developments in Iraq, as well as growth in NGLs and rising production of tight oil toward the latter half of the Outlook period.

2014.03.11 - Oil Resource Base Continues to Expand Figure 2

In Africa, large deepwater developments are expected to result in the continent seeing about a 10 percent rise in liquids production from 2010 to 2040.

Deepwater supplies will grow by more than 150 percent from 2010 to 2040. Deepwater production, which refers to wells drilled in more than 400 meters (1,312 feet) of water, is concentrated in Angola, Nigeria, the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil. Globally, deepwater drilling is expected to plateau near the end of the Outlook.

Source: ExxonMobil report “The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040”

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