Proven Oil Reserves, 1980-2016 (thousand million barrels)

Proven Oil Reserves, 1980-2016 (thousand million barrels)

Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

Oil reserves show an acute geographical concentration as 47% of them are in the Middle East alone, which is a small region. Exports of petroleum from OPEC countries have generated considerable incomes over the last decades, but this wealth is temporary as OPEC countries are often labeled are rent economies. A major challenge for OPEC countries is to use these “petrodollars” to generate economic growth in sectors outside the oil industry, which is what locations such as Dubai have been attempting by the development of financial and trade activities. The increase in the oil reserves is attributed to two main factors. The first is the discovery of new reserves, which is becoming less common. Latin American countries such as Brazil has recently seen the discovery of additional reserves, mostly offshore. The second involves technological and market changes that make deposits that were previously considered not recoverable into reserves.