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Oil Supplies

Volume 981: debated on Wednesday 26 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy when the world supply of oil will run out, assuming that no new discoveries of oil are made that can be successfully exploited.

World proven oil reserves—reserves for which oil production equipment is either installed or planned—are estimated to be about 570 billion barrels, at about 25 years' production at the current level, if this could be maintained. However, the technical and physical constraints on oil recovery mean that production from existing discoveries will decline slowly, rather than cutting off at a particular date, and so supplies from this source will continue well into the next century. Other known discoveries of oil might add another 250 billion barrels to world supply, although this estimate is more tentative since it refers to probable reserves—reserves for which oil production equipment is not yet installed or planned.