Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil producer in the world with a proven reserve of 264 billion barrels, could continue oil supplies for the next 80 years at the current production levels, the Kuwait-based Diplomatic Center for Strategic Studies (DCSS) said in a study.
Saudi Arabia retains 38.7 percent of world oil reserves whereas the shares of Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar stand at 14.8 percent, 14.3 percent and 3.7 percent respectively, the report said. Saudi Aramco has carried out a mega investment programme at a cost exceeding $100 billion and, consequently, increased production capacity to 12.5 million barrels a day.
There are plans to bring capacity to 15 million barrels a day by 2015, according to the report. "Proven oil reserves in the GCC region are poised to increase due to advanced technologies being used in oil exploration processes. Additionally, engineering and geological studies have shown that new oil discoveries will possibly be announced in the GCC region."
DCSS said in 2010, the Gulf region produced over 25.2 million barrels of oil per day, and 44.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, accounting for over 30 percent of the world’s oil production, 15 percent of gas production, and 32 percent of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.
"The share of the GCC to the world oil reserves is predicted to rise from the current 45 percent to 70 percent during the first decades of the current century," the study noted.
The Gulf countries controlled nearly 45 percent of the world’s current proven conventional oil resources and the share could soar to 70 percent before the year 2050, the Kuwaiti research centre said.
The GCC nations also captured 25 percent of total world oil crude exports and retained 17 percent of world proven gas reserves, DCSS said.
In another report, Shell said in its "Energy Scenarios to 2050" that China’s aggressive motorway building programme and rising prosperity are key to strong demand growth.
Demand will also remain strong in the Middle East and in other developing countries. The net effect is that global oil demand will increase. Meeting this expected growth will rely more and more on alternative sources of energy supply, like natural gas liquids, biofuels and unconventional oil. Natural gas demand will grow strongly, driven by economic growth and the thrust towards lower carbon fuels. In the electricity sector, lower-cost gas fired generation will replace coal-fired generation where possible.
Growth in renewable energy also means more gas-fired power plants are required to provide flexibility.
"Saudi Arabia has recreated its spare production capacity by bringing new facilities on-stream," the report said.