An Assessment of the Oil Resource Base of the United States

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1992

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A select panel of oil resource analysts, convened in August 1992 by the Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin, and the National Institute for Petroleum and Energy Research (NIPER) at the request of the U.S. Department of Energy, concludes that the remaining, recoverable volume of crude oil in the United States ranges from 99 to 204 billion barrels, inclusive of 25 billion barrels of oil carried as proved reserves by the Energy Information Administration at the end of 1991. The range in estimates reflects different assumptions of price and technology (including the geological ability to apply that technology). The lower estimate assumes a stable oil price of $20 per barrel (1992 dollars) with existing technology. The higher estimate assumes a price of $27 per barrel (1992 dollars) but with advanced technology. The range in estimates of the remaining resource base recoverable under the given assumptions is equivalent to 35 to 75 years of continued U.S. crude oil production at the current annual rate of 2.7 billion barrels.

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