Does Iraq have more oil than Saudi Arabia?

Oct 08, 2007 02:00 AM

War-battered Iraq could oust Saudi Arabia as the world’s oil superpower as its actual crude resources might be larger than those in its Gulf neighbour, according to a Western oil expert.
Colin Lothian, senior analyst with the Wood Mackenzie of Scotland, said undeveloped oilfields in southern Iraq contain massive oil quantities that could exceed those in Saudi Arabia.

“Iraq's remaining reserves, particularly in the south, are of considerable scale, high quality and most are at a relatively immature stage in their respective development cycles. There are many fields that each contain billions of barrels of oil, that are located onshore, within 150 km of Iraq’s main export terminal, Al Basra,” he said in September.
“On the whole, their depletion rate is very low and, in several cases, these fields have never been in production. If you add to that the possible results of exploration in the Western Desert and in established areas, the potential is enormous.”

Asked if those remaining reserves are greater than the crude resources of Saudi Arabia, he said:” I would certainly not rule out that possibility, but both countries (and Iran as well) have huge scope for growth and numerous uncertainties remain. It will take many years of work in the field before one can make a more accurate assessment of Iraq's true oil potential.”
Lothian gave no figures for Iraq’s proven oil potential, but according to official Arab figures, they are estimated at 115 bn barrels. Saudi Arabia has nearly 262 bn barrels, almost a quarter of the world’s recoverable oil wealth.

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