Saudi oil reserves close in on world’s top spot

BP raised its estimates of Saudi Arabia's crude oil reserves at the end of last year by 12%. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 12 June 2019

Saudi oil reserves close in on world’s top spot

  • Saudi proved oil reserves were revised to 297.7 billion barrels
  • Increase due to Kingdom reporting separately oil, gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) reserves

Estimates of Saudi Arabia’s crude oil reserves have increased by 12 percent, closing in on Venezuela’s top spot in the world.

In the first major change to the estimated reserves since 1989, BP revised Saudi Arabia’s proved oil reserves to 297.7 billion barrels at the end of 2018 from 266.2 billion a year earlier, only slightly behind 303 billion in Venezuela.

Canada was third with 168 billion barrels, followed by Iran with 156 billion and Iraq with 147 billion.

 

 In its benchmark 2019 Statistical Review of World Energy, BP recalibrated some Saudi gas reserves as oil after Saudi Arabia started separate reporting of oil, gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) reserves, BP chief economist Spencer Dale said.

Saudi Arabia has begun reporting its reserves as it prepares to float the national energy company Saudi Aramco. The listing was postponed and is now planned for early next decade.

HIGHLIGHTS

• BP revised Saudi Arabia’s proved oil reserves to 297.7 billion barrels at the end of 2018 from 266.2 billion a year earlier.

• BP recalibrated some Saudi gas reserves as oil after KSA started separate reporting of oil, gas and natural gas liquids reserves.

Riyadh has rarely changed its oil reserves estimates in the past, despite pumping 8-10 million barrels per day.

BP also said oil reserves for the US, which became the world’s top producer in 2018, were revised upwards by 22 percent to 61.2 billion barrels from 50 billion barrels at the end of 2017.

Overall, global reserves were little changed at 1,729.7 billion barrels, about 50 years’ supply at current levels of global demand.

FASTFACTS

Saudi oil reserves

Saudi Arabia's proved oil reserves were revised to 297.7 billion barrels at the end of 2018, BP said on Tuesday. The estimate is considerably higher than both its previous estimate and a certification by consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton announced in January. The latter estimate put the Kingdom's proven oil reserves at the end of 2017 at about 268.5 billion barrels, including reserves in the Partitioned Zone jointly owned by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.


Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

Updated 09 August 2020

Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

  • Aramco see’s “partial recovery” from pandemic impact
  • Aramco president says company remains resilient

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, reported a net income of $6.57bn for the second quarter of 2020, the period which witnessed the most volatile oil market conditions for many decades.

The result, announced to the Tadawul stock exchange in Riyadh where the shares are listed, compared with income of $24.7 bn last year.

Amin Nasser, president and chief executive, said: “Despite COVID-19 bringing the world to a standstill, Aramco kept going. We have proven our financial resilience and operational reliability, setting a record in our business operations, while at the same time taking steps to ensure the health and safety of our people.”

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Aramco’s dividend - a big attraction for the investors who bought into the world’s biggest initial public offering last year - will remain as pledged, Nasser added. Cash flow in the quarter amounted to $6.106 bn.

““Strong headwinds from reduced demand and lower oil prices are reflected in our second quarter results. Yet we delivered solid earnings because of our low production costs, unique scale, agile workforce, and unrivalled financial and operational strength. This helped us deliver on our plan to maintain a second quarter dividend of $18.75 billion to be paid in the third quarter,” he said.

Aramco said the loss was “mainly reflecting the impact of lower crude oil prices and declining refining and chemicals margins, partly offset by a decrease in production royalties resulting from lower crude oil prices and a decrease in the royalty rate from 20 per cent to 15 per cent, lower income taxes and zakat as a result of lower earnings, and higher other income related to sales for gas products.”

Sales and revenue in the period - which saw oil prices collapse on “Black Monday” in April - fell 57 per cent to $32.861 bn from the comparable period last year. 

Nasser said he was cautiously optimistic that the world economy was slowly recovering from the depths of the pandemic lockdowns.

“We are seeing a partial recovery in the energy market as countries around the world take steps to ease restrictions and reboot their economies. Meanwhile, we continue to place people’s safety first and have adapted to the new normal, implementing wide-ranging precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 wherever we operate.

“We are determined to emerge from the pandemic stronger and will continue making progress on our long-term strategic journey, through ongoing investments in our business – which has one of the lowest upstream carbon footprints in the world,” he added.

Aramco expects capital expenditure to be at the lower end of the $25bn to $30bn range it has already indicated for this year.