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
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.
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.
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.
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
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