Aramco Chief Debunks Peak Oil
“We have grossly underestimated mankind’s ability to find new reserves of petroleum, as well as our capacity to raise recovery rates and tap fields once thought inaccessible or impossible to produce.” So said Abdallah S. Jum’ah, Saudi Aramco’s president and CEO, during his address at the 11th Congress of the World’s Energy Council in Rome last November.
With the mass media focused on soaring oil prices and publishing a rash of peak oil stories, Jum’ah’s latest contribution to the peak oil debate has gone largely unreported. Remarking on the abysmal prediction record of peak oil alarmists through the years, Jum’ah countered it would be possible for the oil industry to produce at least 3 trillion barrels (over 1.3 trillion barrels more than usual estimates) from conventional recoverable and proven reserves in known fields over several decades. “Based on projections I’ve cited,” Jum’ah said, “the world seems to have over 3 trillion barrels of recoverable conventional and non-conventional liquid fuel resources if we opt for extra-conservative assumptions, and about 6 trillion barrels” if more liberal assumptions are used.
Jum’ah believes that in-place conventional and non-conventional liquid resources may ultimately total between 13 trillion and 16 trillion barrels. “To put those figures in perspective, to date we have consumed only 1.1 trillion barrels of oil or 7 to 9 percent of oil in place,” he said.
He singled out several prominent companies, citing “Statoil’s pioneering activities in regions of severe cold, and Petrobras’s advances in deep-sea technologies” as part of the booming technology in the upstream sector. Global demand is currently around 86 million barrels per day, and Jum’ah believes that “we still have almost a century’s worth of oil under the conservative scenario…and nearly 200 years’ worth under the target scenario. As a result I do not believe the world has to worry about ‘peak oil’ for a very long time.”