U.S. Has More Oil Than Saudi Arabia
By Shlomo Maital
A Financial Times report today claims that for the first time, proven oil reserves in the United States exceed those in Saudi Arabia (and Russia).
The US holds more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia and Russia, the first time it has surpassed those held by the world’s biggest exporting nations, according to a new study. Rystad Energy estimates recoverable oil in the US from existing fields, discoveries and yet undiscovered areas amounts to 264bn barrels. The figure surpasses Saudi Arabia’s 212bn and Russia’s 256bn in reserves.
Not surprisingly, Texas has almost a quarter of those 264 billlion barrels; Texas oil wealth will thus continue. According to the report, “three years ago the US was behind Russia, Canada and Saudi Arabia. ….More than half of the US’s remaining oil reserves are in unconventional shale oil.”
What does this finding mean? First, at last, the decline of Saudi geopolitical influence. Saudi money has financed worldwide Wahabi Islam, an extreme form of Islam that has at times ‘inspired’ bad guys, as in 9/11. The Saudis may now have to keep more of their money at home, and already have issued an ambitious plan for weaning Saudi Arabia from oil, after its former oil minister purposely flooded the market, bashed the price of oil to historic lows – and was fired.
Second, greater energy independence of the United States, and hence less pandering to oil-rich Mideast nations. And perhaps, less geopolitical influence on the part of Russia. Both Russia and Saudi Arabia have not been forces for good in the global arena, in the past.
Those who have written off American global leadership, under a weak Obama administration, may have to think again. Oil and geopolitics are close syblings. One qualification, however. U.S. shale oil costs a lot to recover, perhaps as much as $50 /bbl. Saudi oil has a marginal production cost of just a few dollars, as it is pumped easily out of the desert sand. So Saudi still holds a few Trump cards.