Bloomberg News

World Outside U.S. Holds 565 Billion Barrels of Oil: USGS

April 21, 2012

The world excluding the U.S. holds 565 billion barrels of undiscovered, conventional oil and 5,606 trillion cubic feet of natural-gas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

These numbers represent technically recoverable resources, or quantities of oil and gas that can be produced using currently available technology and industry practices, regardless of accessibility or economic considerations, it said in a statement posted April 18 on its website.

The data includes the average estimate of resources in 171 geological provinces of the world, onshore and offshore, the USGS said in its first assessment since 2000. Almost three- quarters of the oil is in four regions: 126 billion barrels in South America and the Caribbean; 115 billion in sub-Saharan Africa; 111 billion in the Middle East and North Africa; and 61 billion in Arctic areas of North America, according to the statement.

The report doesn’t include undiscovered, conventional resources in the U.S., which the USGS estimates at 27 billion barrels of oil and 388 trillion cubic feet of gas on and offshore. There are an additional 81 billion barrels of oil and 398 trillion cubic feet of gas in the U.S. outer continental shelf, the statement said, citing the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Unconventional oil and gas resources, such as shale gas, tight oil, tight gas, coal-bed gas, heavy oil and oil sands may be significant around the world though they aren’t included in the data, according to the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ayesha Daya in Dubai

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at

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