HOUSTON Feb 14 Global oil production has not
yet peaked and technological innovations should keep output
rising at least through 2050, an official from Saudi Arabia's
state oil company said on Wednesday.
Nansen Saleri, reservoir management manager for Saudi
Aramco, dismissed arguments that the world's oil production had
reached its apex and was sliding into decline, adding Saudi
Arabia could boost reserves by 40 percent to 1 trillion barrels
in the next two decades.
"I would say it is going to be 2050 or more (before
production peaks) because I think new technologies are going to
favorably impact the business," Saleri said at a conference
hosted by Cambridge Energy Research Associates.
Saleri spoke a day after energy investment banker Matthew
Simmons, a proponent of the "peak oil" theory and a critic of
Saudi Arabia's production statistics, called for better
industry data to prove that crude output is on the wane.
Key to delaying the decline in global production is
squeezing more from oil fields, Saleri said.
Oil companies are forced to leave significant volumes of
crude in wells, because draining extra barrels is either too
difficult or expensive. The current industry record for
development is about 35 percent of reserves pumped, with the
remaining 65 percent left in the ground.
High-tech advances and use of water injection to push crude
oil out of deposits should put that percentage closer to 70
percent, Saleri said.
Saudi Arabia -- the de-facto leader of the OPEC producers
group and the world's biggest crude oil exporter -- has about
25 percent of global crude oil reserves.
Total known reserves are about 716 billion barrels, of
which about 260 billion barrels have been officially quoted as
being "proven," or recoverable with current methods.
New technologies being employed by Saudi Aramco could push
that figure over 1 trillion barrels in the next 20 years,
Previous predictions for a peak in global output have been
proven wrong, Saleri said. Global producers continue to
confound such projections -- global crude production now stands
at about 86 million barrels per day.
Around 1 trillion barrels of crude oil have been produced
so far, out of a total resource base of about 14 trillion
barrels -- roughly evenly split between conventional sources
and nonconventional ones like heavy oil from the Canadian
oilsands, Saleri said.