Saudi Arabia announced an increase in its oil and gas reserves, revealing for the first time details about the world’s largest deposits.
An external audit was conducted as Saudi Aramco, the state oil giant plans for its initial public offering.
U.S. consultant DeGolyer & McNaughton (D&M), found the kingdom’s reserves at the end of 2017 increased by 2.2 billion barrels to 263.1 billion barrels of oil and 319.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, according to a statement by Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources on SPA – the state news agency website.
The audit also added Saudi Arabia’s share of the oil reserves in the jointly owned fields with Kuwait, taking the total reserves figure to 268.5 billion barrels of oil and 325.1 trillion cubic feet of gas.
“The results point out that the kingdom’s reserves of oil and gas are bigger than what we have been announcing,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told a news conference in Riyadh, according to Reuters. Aramco’s cost of production is just $4 a barrel, he said, giving a rare insight into a key metric not usually disclosed.
“This confirms why every barrel we produce is the most profitable in the world and why we believe Saudi Aramco is the world’s most valuable company,” Falih said in the statement.
The consultant evaluated 54 major oil reservoirs operated by Aramco that hold 80 per cent of reserves, out of 368 in its portfolio. In DeGolyer’s view, these contained 213.1 billion barrels of proved oil reserves, compared to 210.9 billion as estimated internally by Aramco.
Meanwhile, D&M evaluated 77 major gas reserves managed by Saudi Aramco, which represent about 60 per cent of its total reserves. The figure rose 9.2 per cent to 204.9 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves, compared to 17.2 trillion announced earlier.
The above figures are limited to ‘registered’ oil and gas resources and do not include unconventional oil and gas deposits.