Global oil and natural gas reserves both increase

Dec. 4, 2023
At the end of 2023, the world’s proven oil reserves reached 1,754.6 billion bbl, an increase from the previous year’s 1,746.8 billion bbl, according to OGJ's annual assessment.


Worldwide Look at Reserves and Production.

At the end of 2023, the world’s proven oil reserves reached 1,754.6 billion bbl, an increase from the previous year’s 1,746.8 billion bbl, according to the OGJ's annual assessment. Notably, the Western Hemisphere region took the lead in this growth. Similarly, global proven natural gas reserves have risen to an estimated 7,506 tcf, compared with the 7,454.8 tcf reported in the previous survey. 

The published reserves figures rely on survey responses and official updates released by individual countries, which are not provided every year in many cases. OGJ changes its estimate for a country only when it receives evidence that a change is in order. Therefore, in a given reserves summary, a year-to-year change—or lack thereof—may not necessarily reflect a change that applies to the calendar year alone. 

OGJ’s figures for oil reserves and production increasingly include natural gas liquids (NGL). Some countries’ gas reserves refer to dry gas reserves after moving NGL reserves into oil reserves. 

When raw oil data are reported in metric tons, OGJ converts the data to barrels (bbl) using conversion factors recommended by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for individual countries.

Meantime, OGJ forecasts global oil production in 2023 to average 95.3 million b/d vs. a 2022 average of 93.85 million b/d. Total OPEC production is set to decrease by 600,000 b/d in 2023, while non-OPEC supply will increase by 2.1 million b/d.

Reserves changes 

Total proved oil reserves in the Asia-Pacific region increased 3% to 45.9 billion bbl in this year’s report from 44.6 billion bbl in the previous survey. Gas reserves, however, decreased 1% from the year-ago level. 

According to the 2023 China Mineral Resources Report (CMR) issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources (PRC), China’s proven remaining oil reserves at yearend 2022 totaled 3.81 billion tons, an increase from 3.69 billion tons at yearend 2021. China’s remaining reserves for conventional natural gas were 6.57 trillion cubic meters (cu m), compared with 6.34 trillion cu m for the year-ago level. Coalbed methane reserves and shale gas reserves were at 366 billion cu m and 561 billion cu m, respectively at yearend 2022, compared with 366 billion cu m and 544 billion cu m at yearend 2021. According to CMR, the investment in oil and gas geological exploration was 82.39 billion yuan in 2022, an increase of 3.1% from a year ago.

Geoscience Australia updated its assessments for Australia oil and gas reserves (2019 data) in 2021, the first update since 2015. According to the agency’s estimates, Australia’s proven oil (crude oil, condensate, and NGLs) reserves were 1.8 billion bbl in 2019, down from the 2015 figure of 2.45 billion bbl. Proven natural gas reserves were 96.5 tcf, down from 114 tcf estimated in 2015. However, proven reserves have not been updated since then.

The latest statistical report from the Directorate General of Oil and Gas shows that as of Jan. 1, 2022, Indonesia’s proven oil reserves totaled 2.27 billion bbl, up from 2.25 billion bbl a year ago. Its proven natural gas reserves now stand at 36.34 tcf, compared with 41.62 tcf a year ago.

Data from India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas shows that India’s crude oil reserves increased to 651.8 million tons as of April 2022, compared with 592 million tons as of April 2021. Natural gas reserves fell to 1,138.6 billion cu m from 1,372 billion cu m a year ago.

According to the Pakistan Petroleum Information Services (PPIS), Pakistan’s crude oil reserves fell by 17% to 193 million bbl in June 2023, compared with 233 million bbl in the same month of last year. The depletion was due to “the natural decline in major oil fields.” Natural gas reserves also declined by 6% to 18.34 tcf as of June 2023 compared with 19.5 tcf in June 2022.

As of January 2023, New Zealand had estimated 49.7 million bbl of crude oil and condensate remaining, 1.24 million tons of LPG remaining, and 966 bcf of natural gas remaining. 

Western European oil and natural gas reserves were both down from the previous year’s survey. Increases in oil reserves in Norway and Denmark were offset by declines in other countries.

The latest annual resource report of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) shows that, at yearend 2022, Norway’s proven oil reserves, which include crude oil, condensate, and NGLs, amounted to 7.64 billion bbl, up from 7.57 billion bbl a year ago. Norway’s gas reserves at yearend 2022 increased slightly to 51.87 tcf from 51.2 tcf at yearend 2021. The method NPD uses for classification of reserves is the United Nations Framework Classification System (UNFC). 

According to the latest estimates from the UK Oil & Gas Authority, now called North Sea Transition Authority, the UK’s proven oil reserves at yearend 2022 decreased to 1.5 billion bbl from 1.8 billion bbl at yearend 2021. Proven gas reserves decreased to 0.8 billion bbl of oil equivalent (boe) from 0.9 billion boe a year ago.  

Danish Energy Agency reported that Denmark’s estimated oil reserves increased slightly to 55 million cu m as of January 2023 from 54 million cu m as of January 2022. Gas reserves decreased to 918 bcf from 989 bcf. 

Canadian conventional crude and condensate reserves are now estimated at 4.3 billion bbl, up from 3.78 billion bbl recorded a year ago, according to the latest evaluations by Canadian Energy Regulator (CER). The latest estimate of Canadian oil sands reserves decreased to 158.8 billion bbl from 160 billion bbl a year ago. In the natural gas segment, CER releases a natural gas “resource” estimate but not a “reserve” figure, so OGJ makes a preliminary estimate of reserves, which is subject to revision.

According to Pemex’s annual hydrocarbon evaluations, as of January 2023, Mexico’s estimated proved reserves of oil totaled 6.08 billion bbl, up from 5.96 billion bbl as of January 2022. The current oil reserves consisted of 5.73 billion bbl of crude and condensate, and 354 million bbl of NGL. Mexico’s proved dry gas reserves total 7.08 tcf as of Jan. 1, 2023, down from 7.13 tcf as of January 2022. 

Brazil has declared proven oil reserves of 14.86 billion bbl at end-2022, compared with 13.24 billion bbl at end-2021, according to the latest estimates from Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency (ANP). Búzios, Sépia, and Tupi fields contributed most to the changes. Proven natural gas reserves stood at 406.3 billion cu m at end-2022, up from 378.65 billion cu m a year ago.

In the Middle East area, Oman’s crude oil and condensate reserves at end-2022 were about 4.9 billion bbl, higher than the previous year by 1%. The expected natural gas reserves by yearend 2022 amounted to 24 tcf, up 7% from the previous year. 

OPEC reserves 

The reserves figures reported for OPEC members are referenced from the organization’s latest (2023) annual statistical bulletin. 

Total proved crude oil reserves for the current OPEC group remain largely flat from the year-ago level, standing at 1,243 billion bbl and total natural gas reserves move up slightly by 1.1% to 2,652 tcf. 

Specifically, crude oil reserves reported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) increased to 113 billion bbl from 111 billion bbl a year ago. Gas reserves of Saudi Arabia increased 12% to 336 tcf. 

As in the previous release, the current OPEC’s oil reserves account for 71% of the worldwide total and gas reserves account for 35% of the world’s gas reserves. 

US reserves 

According to the latest reserves report (yearend 2021) from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), proved reserves of natural gas reported by operators established a new record in the US in 2021, while proved US reserves of oil increased but did not quite return to pre-pandemic levels. 

Proved reserves of US crude oil and lease condensate showed significant growth, increasing by 6.2 billion bbl (16%) from yearend 2020 to yearend 2021, reaching 44.4 billion bbl. Texas, the leading state in terms of these reserves, experienced the largest net increase in 2021, adding 1.9 billion bbl (12%). New Mexico followed with the second-largest net increase at 1.4 billion bbl (39%), while Alaska ranked third with a 700 million bbl increase (31%). Conversely, Oklahoma reported the largest net decrease in proved reserves of crude oil and lease condensate in 2021, with a decline of 19 million bbl (-1%).

Proved reserves of US natural gas also saw substantial growth, surging by 152.1 tcf (32%) from yearend 2020 to yearend 2021, establishing a new record at 625.4 tcf. Alaska recorded a noteworthy increase for the second consecutive year, adding 63.3 tcf in 2021, nearly tripling the state’s total to 99.8 tcf from 36.5 tcf, marking the largest increase among all states. Texas registered the second-largest increase in proved reserves of natural gas in 2021, with 34.3 tcf (30%), while New Mexico saw the third-largest increase at 10 tcf (38%).

Meantime, according to EIA’s estimates, proved reserves of dry natural gas in the US increased by 32% to 589.2 tcf in 2021 from an estimated 445.3 tcf in 2020. 

Correspondingly, the estimated volume of natural gas plant liquids (NGPLs) (unlike lease condensate) in proved reserves of total natural gas increased by 26% to 26.18 billion bbl in 2021 from 20.69 billion bbl in 2020.

EIA is scheduled to update the yearend 2022 estimates of proved reserves this month. As OGJ went to press end-November, these figures were not yet available, so OGJ calculated its own estimates as usual. These estimates have demonstrated remarkable accuracy when it comes to tracking trends and quantities.

OGJ estimates that, by the end of 2022, US proven oil reserves, including crude oil, lease condensate, and NGL reserves, totaled 74 billion bbl, up 5.4% from the prior year. Dry natural gas reserves increased to 615 tcf, up 4.4% from a year ago. The upward revisions reflect higher commodity prices during 2022 as well as information observed from OGJ150 data. OGJ will update yearend 2022 US reserves with EIA data in next year’s report. 

World oil production 

Global oil production in 2023 is expected to increase 1.6% and average 95.3 million b/d vs. an estimated 2022 average of 93.85 million b/d. There has been no material impact on oil supply flows from the war between Israel and Hamas that began in October 2023. 

Total OPEC oil supply in 2023 is forecast to average 33.56 million b/d, down from 34.16 million b/d in 2022. Saudi Arabia’s oil supply is expected to contract by 4% to 11.64 million b/d. The country’s crude oil production is set to decline to 9.64 million b/d in 2023 from 10.53 million b/d in 2022, reflecting its decision to expand production cuts. 

In 2023, non-OPEC supply is expected to increase by 4%, or 2.1 million b/d, to a total of 61.8 million b/d. The US is expected to contribute the most to this growth, with annual output gains of 1.4 million b/d, setting a new production record of 19.3 million b/d.

Canadian oil supply is forecast to average 5.6 million b/d, marginally higher than 2022. Brazil’s oil production is expected to surge 12% in 2023. The six new floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessels brought online since the start of 2022 continue to ramp up and operate with high production efficiency. Supply from Guyana is forecast to grow by 110,000 b/d to 386 million bbl in 2023, supported by the ExxonMobil-led consortium.

In 2023, Norway’s production is set to rise by 4% to about 2 million b/d, driven by the start of new projects. Conversely, oil production in the UK is projected to decrease by 11% during the year.

Russia’s oil production is expected to average 10.7 million b/d in 2023, down 2% from the year-ago level of 10.9 million b/d. Kazakhstan oil outputs are estimated to increase 5% while Azerbaijan oil production is expected to decline 7% in 2023. 

Oil production in the Asia-Pacific region in 2023 is expected to increase slightly. China’s oil production will increase by 4% to 4.27 million b/d thanks to continued strong capital investment. Australia’s production will decrease around 5% this year. Production from Indonesia and Thailand continue to drop.