Saudi Arabia’s proved oil reserves are 11% higher than previously thought at close to 300 billion barrels, according to the latest estimates by BP, after the world’s top oil exporter provided new details on the make-up of its giant oil and gas reserves. Saudi Arabia held 297.7 billion barrels of proved crude and natural gas liquids at the end of 2018, with reserves climbing by 1.7 billion barrels on the year before, BP said in its latest annual Statistical Review.
But the Saudi reserve figures are some 30 billion barrels higher than year-ago levels, reflecting new detail from state-oil giant Saudi Aramco on the classification of its natural gas liquids, or “wet gas” as liquid oil, BP’s chief economist Spencer Dale said. Aramco’s latest annual report estimates that the country’s reserves of NGLs — light hydrocarbon liquids separated from raw natural gas flows — stood at 35.1 billion barrels at the end of 2017.
“We use Saudi Aramco data and they have started to break out their NGLs,” Dale told reporters in London. “Before, we think most of those NGLs were in their gas reserves,” he said, noting that Aramco’s latest reported gas reserves have recently fallen. According to Aramco’s latest figures, Saudi Arabia’s proven gas reserves stood at 36.93 billion barrels of oil equivalent in 2017, down from a previously reported oil equivalent figure of 52.79 billion for 2016.