Peak oil believers can keep on dreaming, according to Saudi Arabia’s oil minister.
He’s interestingly talking down long-term oil prices, and shocking analysts with his reserve estimates:
Mr Al Naimi said at a conference held in the Saudi capital to celebrate the 50th birthday of OPEC that “I am sorry to disappoint people but the era of easy oil is not over. How can you say the era of easy oil is over when we still have 88 billion barrels in the Ghawar field? That is more than many countries in the world. You can dismiss the notion that easy oil in Saudi Arabia is gone.”
The Ghawar field, measuring 280 kilometers by 30 kilometers is by far the largest conventional oilfield in the world. Although details of the field’s performance are not made public, it is believed to have produced more than 65 billion barrels already since production began in 1951.
Mr Al Naimi’s estimate of its remaining reserves was greater than many analysts had thought, possibly indicating the state oil company, Saudi Aramco has been able to increase its expected recovery of oil. Oil companies generally expect to extract about half of the oil from a typical field but this recovery factor was now rising to 70% in some cases.
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