World has tapped just 18pc of its oil supplies

Vienna, September 13 :

The world has tapped only 18 per cent of the total global supply of crude, a leading Saudi oil executive said today, challenging the notion that supplies are petering out.

Abdallah S Jum’ah, president and CEO of the state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co, known better as Aramco, said the world has the potential of 4.5 trillion barrels in reserves — enough to power the globe at current levels of consumption for another 140 years.

Jum’ah challenged oil ministers and petroleum executives at an Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) conference in Vienna to step up exploration “and leave the minimum amount of oil in the ground. The world has only consumed about 18 per cent of its conventional potential,” Jum’ah said, contending that should lay to rest fears that the world is in danger of being tapped out within a few decades.

Many experts estimate that Earth’s recoverable oil resource is at least three trillion barrels and potentially more than four trillion barrels. If global consumption rises about two per cent a year from today’s levels of about 85 million barrels a day, they say, the low end of that range would only be enough to last until roughly 2070.

Rex W Tillerson, the chairman of Exxon Mobil Corp, said world demand for oil will increase by 50 per cent in the next decade.

“When nations threaten to stop this flow, it stops economic progress worldwide,” Tillerson said.

Industry leaders have gathered this week to take stock of new challenges at the conference sponsored by the OPEC.