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Oil & Gas Reserves - Oil & gas reserves fall in 2009

Released: 29 June 2011 Download PDF

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Oil Reserves

Oil Reserves in the UK, Environmental Accounts 2011

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Oil reserves

The upper range of UK’s total oil reserves was estimated to be 2.6 billon tonnes at the end of 2009, 0.1 billion tonnes lower than in 2008. The reserves fell as:

  • the upper range of undiscovered oil reserves fell by 0.1 billion tonnes to 1.5 billion tonnes

  • maximum discovered reserves of oil fell by 19 million tonnes to 1.1 billion tonnes

Discovered oil reserves

The UK’s total discovered oil reserves fell in 2009, compared with 2008, due to a fall in both proven and possible oil reserves. Proven oil reserves fell by 30 million tonnes to 0.4 billion tonnes and possible oil reserves fell by 17 million tonnes to 0.3 billion tonnes. However, these falls were partly offset by an increase in probable oil reserves, which increased by 29 million tonnes to 0.4 billion tonnes.

 

Undiscovered oil reserves

The UK’s undiscovered reserves were between 0.4 billion tonnes and 1.5 billion tonnes at the end of 2009, which may exist in areas of the UK continental shelf. The upper range of undiscovered oil reserve fell by approximately 48 per cent and the lower range by approximately 25 per cent between 1989 and 2009.

 

 

Expected level of reserves

Estimates of remaining UK oil reserves are uncertain, but reserves do show an overall decline between 1989 and 2009. In 2009, level of oil extraction amounted to 68 million tonnes – the lowest since 1989 - approximately 4 million tonnes lower than in 2008.

 

Gas Reserves

Gas reserves in the UK, Environmental Accounts 2011

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Estimates of gas reserves are made on the same basis as oil and as such are similarly uncertain, with total reserves ranging from 556 to 1,789 billion cubic metres (bcm) at the end of 2009. The upper limit is down 8.3 per cent from 1,950 bcm in 2008.  Proven reserves were also lower at 256 bcm in 2009 compared with 292 bcm a year earlier.  Rates of gas extraction stood at 57 bcm in 2009, the lowest since 1992.

 

 

Sources: Energy and Climate Change / Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. The lower end of the range of total reserves has been calculated as the sum of proven reserves and the lower end of the range of undiscovered reserves.
  2. The upper end of the range of total reserves is the sum of proven, probable and possible reserves and the upper end of the range of undiscovered reserves.
  3. Reserves known with the highest degree of certainty are described as 'proven'. 'Probable' reserves are known reserves which are not yet proven but are estimated to have a greater than 50 per cent chance of being technically and commercially producible. 'Possible' reserves have a significant but less than 50 per cent chance of being producible.
  4. Oil reserves include both oil and the liquids and liquefied products obtained from gas fields, gas-condensate fields and from the associated gas in oil fields. Gas reserves are the quantity of gas expected to be available for sale from dry gas fields, gas-condensate fields and oil fields with associated gas. Gas which is expected to be flared or used offshore is not included.
  5. Environmental accounts provide data on the environmental impact of UK economic activity, on the use of resources from the environment in the economy, and on associated taxes and subsidies.
  6. For more information, email: environment.accounts@ons.gsi.gov.uk
  7. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

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