Distribution and quantitative assessment of world crude oil reserves and resources

Open-File Report 83-728

, , and



World Demonstrated Reserves of crude oil are approximately 723 billion barrels of oil (BBO). Cumulative production is 445 BBO and annual production is 20 BBO. Demonstrated Reserves of crude-oil have declined over the past 10 years consistent with discoveries lagging production over the same period. The assessment of Undiscovered Resources shows a 90 percent probability that the amount discoverable lies between 321 and 1,417 BBO, 550 BBO being the most likely value. The most likely value for Ultimate recoverable resources is 1,718 BBO. The distribution of Ultimate Resources of crude oil will remain highly skewed toward the Middle East; no frontier areas that have potentials large enough to significantly affect present distribution are recognized. Rates of discovery have continued to decline over the past 20 years even though exploration activity has increased in recent years. Prudence dictates, therefore, that the low side of the assessment of Undiscovered Resources be responsibly considered and that alternate energy sources be a part of future planning. Extra-heavy oil and bitumen are assessed separately, with Reserves being figured as the annual productive capacity of installed facilities times 25 years. The annual production of extra-heavy oil is about 8 million barrels and of bitumen about 60 million barrels.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Distribution and quantitative assessment of world crude oil reserves and resources
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey,
1 v. (various foliations) :ill. ;28 cm.