USGS estimates potential conventional reserves growth outside US

The US Geological Survey released a new global estimate for potential oil and gas reserve additions in conventional discovered fields outside the US.

Mean undiscovered conventional reserve potential grew by 665 billion bbl of oil, 1,429 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 16 billion bbl of natural gas liquids, USGS said June 18.

The estimates are for technically recoverable oil and gas excluding US reserves growth estimates, which will be released in coming months.

No attempt was made to estimate economically recoverable oil and gas as part of the projections. Continuous or unconventional formations were not included.

The new assessment is based on detailed analysis of geology and engineering practices in producing fields, unlike past reserves growth estimates which relied on statistical extrapolations of growth trends, according to USGS.

The new estimates involve both published and commercial sources of geologic information and field production data. Because data from fields outside the US are scarce, data from US fields where reserves were growing were used as analogs, USGS indicated.

Project scientists applied these analogs to 1,467 of the largest conventional fields outside the US which, although only 9% of the world’s total, contain approximately 85% of known global volumes, USGS said.

Scientists also applied these analogs to 347 of the largest conventional gas fields, representing just 3% of the world’s nonassociated gas fields but accounting for 79% of global nonassociated gas volumes.

Analysis indicates a large proportion of the world’s resources occur in a relatively small number of fields, USGS said.

Contact Nick Snow at

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