The U.S. has surpassed oil exporting giants Saudi Arabia and Russia by holding more oil reserves for the first time ever, according to a new survey released Monday.
The study conducted by Oslo-based Rystad Energy over three years shows the U.S. holds more recoverable oil, reserves that are technologically and economically possible to extract, than top global exporters. U.S. reserves are estimated at 264 billion barrels compared with Russia at 256 billion barrels and Saudi Arabia at 212 billion barrels.
“For [the] U.S., more than 50 percent of remaining oil reserves is unconventional shale oil. Texas alone holds more than 60 billion barrels of shale oil,” said the analysis from Rystad Energy.
The report estimated that total global oil reserves stand at 2.092 trillion barrels, indicating that the amount of recoverable oil will not be enough to satisfy rising global economies full of potential new car drivers.
“With the global car-park possibly doubling from 1 billion to 2 billion cars over the next 30 years, it becomes very clear that oil alone cannot satisfy the growing need for individual transport,” the report said.
Through new technology and hydraulic fracturing, the U.S. has enjoyed a shale boom and been able to increase its oil reserves in recent years, making it less energy dependent on other exporting nations. Discoveries in Texas and New Mexico have also helped the U.S. surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia.
“Reserves numbers matter but lots of other factors also determine short and long term returns from what the oil companies and nations hold,” Richard Mallinson of Energy Aspects told the Financial Times. “The rise in prominence of the U.S. doesn't diminish the role of Saudi Arabia or Russia, which have some of the cheapest to produce oil in the world.”
Oil prices fell below $50 a barrel Tuesday amid concerns over an economic growth slowdown, Reuters reported. Both Russia and Saudi Arabia have been hit hard by low oil prices that fell from a high over $100 a barrel in 2014 down to under $35 earlier this year.