Frequently Asked Questions

Do we have enough oil worldwide to meet our future needs?

Yes. As shown in EIA's International Energy Outlook 2013, the global supply of crude oil, other liquid hydrocarbons, and biofuels is expected to be adequate to meet the world's demand for liquid fuels for at least the next 25 years. There is, of course, substantial uncertainty about the levels of future oil supply and demand, and EIA reflects some of this uncertainty by developing low and high oil price cases, in addition to a reference case. The oil resources currently remaining in the Earth's crust, in combination with expected volumes of other liquid fuels, are estimated to be sufficient to meet total demand for liquid fuels in all three price cases of the International Energy Outlook 2013.

An often cited, although misleading, measurement of future resource availability is the reserves-to-production ratio, which given the current rate of consumption and total proved reserves is about 50 years. However, proved reserves are an accounting concept that is based on known projects and is not an appropriate measure for judging total resource availability in the long-term. Over time, numerous additional projects will be developed, which will add to global reserves. Furthermore, reserve estimates at known projects are likely to increase as new technologies are developed.

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Last updated: November 7, 2013


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