Analysis of estimated total recoverable oil volume (field size) of 186 well-known giant oil fields of the world (>0.5 billion bbl of oil, discovered prior to 1981), exclusive of the United States and Canada, demonstrates general increases in field sizes through time. Field sizes were analyzed as a group and within subgroups of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC countries. From 1981 through 1996, the estimated volume of oil in the 186 fields for which adequate data were available increased from 617 billion to 777 billion bbl of oil (26%). Processes other than new field discoveries added an estimated 160 billion bbl of oil to known reserves in this subset of the world's oil fields. Although methods for estimating field sizes vary among countries, estimated sizes of the giant oil fields of the world increased, probably for many of the same reasons that estimated sizes of oil fields in the United States increased over the same time period. Estimated volumes in OPEC fields increased from a total of 550 billion to 668 billion bbl of oil and volumes in non-OPEC fields increased from 67 billion to 109 billion bbl of oil. In terms of percent change, non-OPEC field sizes increased more than OPEC field sizes (63% versus 22%). The changes in estimated total recoverable oil volumes that occurred within three 5-year increments between 1981 and 1996 were all positive. Between 1981 and 1986, the increase in estimated total recoverable oil volume within the 186 giant oil fields was 11 billion bbl of oil; between 1986 and 1991, the increase was 120 billion bbl of oil; and between 1991 and 1996, the increase was 29 billion bbl of oil. Fields in both OPEC and non-OPEC countries followed trends of substantial reserve growth.