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28 November 2023

UAE oil put at 97.8bn barrels

Negotiations on with the lowest bidder, Saipem of Italy. (File)

By Nadim Kawach

The UAE’s proven oil reserves remained unchanged at around 97.8 billion barrels at the end of 2009 while total Arab recoverable crude resources swelled by around three billion barrels, according to official figures.

The region’s gas wealth was up slightly by around 200 billion cubic metres and Qatar remained the dominant gas power in the Arab world, accounting for just under half the region’s total gas deposits, showed the figures by the 10-nation Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC).

Although they pumped in excess of eight billion barrels of oil through 2009, the Arab countries boosted their proven crude wealth to nearly 683.6 billion barrels at the end of the year from 680.7 billion barrels at the end of 2008, the Kuwaiti-based OAPEC said in its 2010 statistical report, released this week.

Most of the increase came from Libya, which reported a reserve growth of nearly 2.3 billion barrels while the rest was recorded in Saudi Arabia, already the world’s top crude exporter and largest reservoir of oil.

A breakdown showed the UAE’s extractable oil resources remained almost unchanged at 97.8 billion at the end of 2009, the largest in the Arab world after those of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq.

Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth edged up from around 264.1 billion to 264.6 billion while that of Iraq and Kuwait remained at 115 billion and 101.5 billion barrels.

Libya’s oil deposits grew from around 44.3 billion to 46.6 billion barrels while those of Qatar and Algeria maintained their level of 25.4 billion and 12.2 billion barrels respectively, according to OAPEC, a key Arab League establishment.

The reserves at the end of 2009 were put at 5.5 billion barrels in Oman, five billion barrels in Sudan, 4.4 billion in Egypt, around three billion in Yemen, 2.3 billion in Syria, 400 million in Tunisia and 100 million in Bahrain.

The report showed Saudi Arabia controlled 22.4 per cent of the world’s proven oil resources of 1,176 billion barrels at the end of 2009.

Iraq held about 9.7 per cent while the reserves of Kuwait and the UAE accounted for nearly 8.6 and 8.3 per cent respectively.

As for natural gas, total Arab reserves rose from around 54,216 billion cubic metres (bcm) at the end of 2008 to 54,475 bcm at the end of 2009.

Qatar’s gas wealth slipped slightly from around 25,466 bcm to 25,366 bcm. Saudi Arabia had the second largest gas reserves in the region, standing at 7,920 bcm at the end of 2009, slightly higher than the 2008 level of 7,370 bcm.

The UAE controlled the Arab world’s third largest gas deposits of around 6,091 bcm, unchanged from their 2008 level. Algeria’s reserves of 4,501 bcm were the fourth largest while they stood at 3,170 bcm in Iraq, 2,138 bcm in Egypt, around 1,784 bcm in Kuwait, 1,549 bcm in Libya and 950 bcm in Oman.

The report showed Qatar controlled 13.35 per cent of the world’s total proven natural gas resources of 187,158 bcm at the end of 2009. Saudi Arabia had 4.23 per cent while the UAE, Algeria and Iraq accounted for 3.25, 2.41 and 1.69 per cent respectively, according to OAPEC.

The report noted that the Arab countries’ oil and gas production does not match their massive resources as it accounted for around 27.5 and 13.4 per cent of the world’s total oil and gas output respectively.

“Arab oil production stood at around 23.7 million barrels per day and gas production at nearly 392 billion cubic metres in 2009…this shows that the oil and gas output in the region is low compared with the massive resources.”

It noted that Arab crude resources have steadily increased over the past years despite their massive cumulative production, estimated at 310 billion barrels.

In a recent study, OAPEC said Arab world’s crude oil deposits in place are much higher than the proven resources if new technology is introduced in the future.

“Assuming an extraction rate of 35 per cent, the Arab oil deposits in place could reach 2,738 billion barrels. This means the oil quantities that can not be extracted by present technology are around 1,809 billion barrels, which are nearly 645 billion barrels above the world’s proven oil resources….these quantities, if they can be extracted, will meet the world needs for 60 years …even if only 10 per cent of them could be extracted, they could be enough for seven years.”

The report showed four Gulf countries—the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq—controlled around 50 per cent of  the world’s recoverable oil potential and more than 86 per cent of the total Arab crude reserves.

But it noted large quantities of oil and gas remained undiscovered or undeveloped in the region, totaling around 175 billion barrels of oil, 43,368 billion cubic metres of natural gas and 67 billion barrels of gas liquids.

In the UAE, the undiscovered hydrocarbon reserves were put at around 7.7 billion barrels of crude oil, 1,261 billion cubic metres of natural gas and 2.4 billion of gas liquids. They were estimated at 87.1 billion barrels of oil in Saudi Arabia, 18,158 billion cubic metres of gas and 48.9 billion barrels of gas liquids.

In Kuwait, undiscovered reserves were estimated at about 3.8 billion barrels of crude, 194 billion cubic metres of gas and around 0.2 billion barrels of gas liquids. In Iraq, they were put at 54.1 billion barrels of oil, 9,000 billion cubic metres of gas and around 6.2 billion barrels of gas liquids.

The figures also showed the UAE’s oil and gas resources accounted for 14.6 and 11.3 per cent of the total Arab oil and gas deposits while Saudi Arabia controlled 39.3 and 13.6 per cent respectively.