Does the world have enough oil to meet our future needs?
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) International Energy Outlook 2019 (IEO2019), 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 through 2050. There is substantial uncertainty about the levels of future liquid fuels supply and demand. EIA reflects some of this uncertainty by developing a Reference case, High and Low Economic Growth cases, and High and Low Oil Price cases in its projections. The oil resources currently in the earth's crust, in combination with expected production of other liquid fuels, are estimated to be sufficient to meet total world demand for liquid fuels in all cases of the IEO2019.
An often cited, but misleading, measurement of future resource availability is the reserves-to-production ratio, which is calculated by dividing the volume of total proved reserves by the volume of current annual consumption. Proved reserves are an accounting concept that is based on known projects, and it is not an appropriate measure for judging total resource availability in the long term. Over time, global reserves will likely increase as new technologies increase production at existing fields and as new projects are developed.
International Energy Outlook
International Energy Statistics—historical world, regional, and country-level estimates of proved crude oil reserves, of petroleum and other liquids production, and of petroleum consumption.
Last updated: November 9, 2020
Other FAQs about Oil/Petroleum
- What is the outlook for home heating fuel prices this winter?
- What do I pay for in a gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel?
- When was the last refinery built in the United States?
- How much oil consumed by the United States comes from foreign countries?
- How much oil is consumed in the United States?
- How much oil is used to make plastic?
- Does the world have enough oil to meet our future needs?
- What is the difference between crude oil, petroleum products, and petroleum?
- What are petroleum products, and what is petroleum used for?
- Does EIA have information on U.S. natural gas and oil pipelines?
- How many alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles are there in the United States?
- How much of the crude oil produced in the United States is consumed in the United States?
- How many gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel are made from one barrel of oil?
- What is U.S. electricity generation by energy source?
- Does EIA have data on the type or quality of crude oil?
- Does EIA have data on the movement (transport) of crude oil, petroleum products, fuel ethanol, and biodiesel by rail?
- Does EIA have data on U.S. oil refineries and their locations?
- How much coal, natural gas, or petroleum is used to generate a kilowatthour of electricity?
- What countries are the top producers and consumers of oil?
- How much petroleum does the United States import and export?
- What types and amounts of energy are produced in each state?
- Does EIA have county-level energy production data?
- How much shale (tight) oil is produced in the United States?
- Does EIA have forecasts or projections for energy production, consumption, and prices for individual states?
- Does EIA have information on unplanned outages or shutdowns of U.S. energy infrastructure?