World May Have More Oil Than Imagined
The potential oil still to be found in the planet´s subsoil is over 4.5 trillion barrels, affirmed Abdalla Jum´ah, president of the Saudi company ARAMCO during an international oil meeting.
In his speech to the third international OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) seminar, the Saudi official challenged exploration companies to find a billion additional barrels for the next quarter century.
The ARAMCO executive said the technological challenge is to extract all remaining barrels of oil lying under the earth´s surface, including non-conventional reserves as well as the progressive recovery of existing fields.
According to those calculations, there are oil reserves for at least 140 years, approximately half a century more than the quantity expected by European and US economists.
The challenge really lies in leaving the least possible amount of fuel in the depths of the planet, discovering all the barrels that can be economically extracted.
Jum´ah indicated that the steps to take would include finding new deposits, increasing rate of recovery, improving technology, reducing production and exploration costs, and benefiting from non-conventional sources like bituminous sands.
The ARAMCO director also put protecting the environment as a prime objective to eliminate the harmful impact of human activity.
Many experts agree that technology can still expand the useful life of oil world reserves, but more pessimistic specialists are convinced that the end of the petroleum era is nearer, in less than a century.
This view sustains that techniques to find fossil fuel in deep layers of the planet will only lead to a rapid depletion of reserves, implying high investment costs and harm to the environment.