How Much Oil Is Left In The World, & When Will We Run Out?

In this guide, we discuss the world’s oil resources and reserves.

We outline how much we might have left, if we might run out and when, what might happen if we do, and more.


Summary – The World’s Oil Resources

The Different Uses Of Oil Across Society, & Why It’s Important

One of the main uses for oil across society is for petroleum fuel products like gasoline

We list the other uses for oil across society in the guide below


How Much Oil Is Left In The World? – Resources, & Reserves

There’s currently more oil resources than reserves in the world, and the recoverable resources amongst these resources can be added to proven reserves

In addition to conventional resources and reserves, there’s also oil in unconventional oil resources.

However, they are usually harder to reach, or have issues with economic feasibility in extraction or production

Overall, total global oil reserves have been trending up over the last few decades according to the available data

In the guide below, we outline why reserve estimates can change over time, and also what constitutes recoverable oil reserves

Ultimately, due to various factors that are difficult to definitively measure, estimating how much oil is left might possess some level of uncertainty


Country With The Largest Oil Reserves

Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves according to current reports

However, some reports indicate that when taking into account current oil discoveries, Saudi Arabia may have the most

Also, when taking into account future discoveries, the US may have the most

In the guide below, we outline how oil reserves data can differ between different reports (and how it can be disputed), and what to be aware of when looking at different reporting data


Oil Reserves In The US

We’ve provided more data in the guide below on how future oil discoveries and unconventional oil resources could significantly increase the US’ proven oil reserves in the future


Total Global Oil Production, & Production Over Time

Total global petroleum and other liquid production in 2020 was 93.80 millions of barrels per day

Production of oil has also generally trended up over the last few decades according to the available data

Although, countries like the US have experienced dips in production over certain years


Countries That Produce The Most Oil

The US produces the most oil of all countries 


Companies (& Oil Majors) That Produce & Own The Most Oil

We’ve included data below on the companies and oil majors that either produce the most oil, or that own the most proven oil reserves – both on the global level, and also in the US


Total Global Oil Demand & Consumption

In 2020, total world consumption of petroleum and other liquids was 91.88 millions of barrels per day


Are We Running Out Of Oil, & Will We Run Out Of Oil In The Future?

It doesn’t appear as though we will run out of oil in the short term.

This might especially be the case as proven oil reserves continue to increase over time, and don’t start depleting over time

We list some of the different factors that might impact our ability to continue to extract and use oil resources and reserves over the medium to long term in the guide below

It’s also worth noting that there’s a difference between running out of oil on a worldwide level, and an individual country running out of uranium.

Some countries may have much larger domestic supplies of oil left than others


When Will We Run Out Of Oil? … How Many Years Worth Of Oil Do We Have Left?

We include some estimates as potential answers (but not definitive answers) to this question in the guide below

Estimates range on both a global level, and also for individual countries


Oil Shortages

Different reports have different analysis’ on oil shortages. 

We’ve listed a few different reports with differing information in the guide below


What Happens If We Start Running Out Of Oil?

Factors like availability of oil and also the price of oil may start to be impacted more heavily


Managing Oil Resources More Sustainably

We outline some of the ways oil might be managed more sustainably as a resource in the guide below


Oil vs Petroleum: What’s The Difference?

Firstly, it’s worth pointing out the difference between oil and petroleum.

Crude oil is the raw material extracted from the Earth.

Some reports use the terms crude oil and petroleum to refer to the same thing 

However, there are a range of ‘petroleum products’ that involve the refinement of crude oil, and other elements from other raw materials, like the hydrocarbons in natural gas.

Examples of petroleum products include kerosene (including jet fuel), home heating oil, diesel fuel, and gasoline.


The Different Uses Of Oil Across Society, & Why It’s Important

Oil is one of the most important resources in society.

Some of the key uses for oil across society might be:

– Transport

A range of vehicles use oil based fuels and petroleum products for propulsion.

This might be the main use we have for petroleum across society indicates that ‘The main use of petroleum [is gasoline, and] About 50 percent of the oil we use goes into making gasoline’


– Electricity

Oil fired power plants burn oil to produce electricity.


– Heating 

Heating oil is used for both space heating in buildings, as well as water heating.


– Industry and manufacturing

Oil is used as a feedstock or raw material in hundreds to thousands of different manufacturing products, such as plastics, polyurethane, solvents, and more. indicates that ‘More than 6,000 everyday products get their start from oil, including dishwashing liquid, solar panels, food preservatives, eyeglasses, DVDs, children’s toys, tires and heart valves’


– Industries that use oil across society

We put together a guide here about what industries use oil across society.


How Much Oil Is Left In The World? – Resources, & Reserves

Total oil resources, including undiscovered or unexplored resources, are larger than total oil reserves

In addition to conventional oil resources and reserves, there’s also oil in unconventional oil resources to consider

Overall, total global crude oil reserves have been trending up over the last few decades, from the year 1990 to the year 2020

Reserve estimates may change over time for various reasons

Lastly, there’s criteria for what can be considered ‘recoverable’ oil reserves 


Total Resources

Below we’ve included figures for both discovered proven oil reserves, and also undiscovered but technically recoverable conventional oil.

Undiscovered, technically recoverable conventional oil estimate is 565 billion barrels (bbo), and there’s an estimate of 1662 billions of barrels of world reserves of crude oil including lease condensate reserves to add to that.

Beyond this oil, there’s also oil in unconventional resources to consider. indicates that unconventional oil resources ‘[include] tight oil … heavy oil [and] oil sands [and that these resources] may be significant around the world …’

Similar to unconventional natural gas resources, unconventional oil resources might be difficult to reach from an extraction point of view, and may not be economically feasible to extract with current technology and processes.


Total Undiscovered Resources

What we can glean from the information below is that oil resources can further be categorised into:

Discovered vs undiscovered oil

Technically recoverable oil (vs oil that may not be recoverable)

Onshore vs offshore oil

Conventional vs unconventional oil resources



Excluding the United States, [and, excluding] … reserves … that have been discovered, are well-defined, and are considered economically viable … the world holds an estimated 565 billion barrels (bbo) of undiscovered, technically recoverable conventional oil … which are those quantities … producible using currently available technology and industry practices, regardless of economic or accessibility considerations 

These estimates include resources beneath both onshore and offshore areas

These new estimates are for conventional oil … resources only [and not] Unconventional oil … resources … 


Where Undiscovered Recoverable Conventional Oil Is Found

Exclusive of the US, most of the world’s undiscovered technically recoverable conventional oil might be in South America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East & North Africa

North America might be in fourth behind those regions


… about 75 percent of the undiscovered technically recoverable conventional oil of the world, exclusive of the United States, is in four regions: South America and the Caribbean (126 bbo); sub-Saharan Africa (115 bbo); the Middle East and North Africa (111 bbo); and the Arctic provinces portion of North America (61 bbo) (


An online search for ‘world’s undiscovered oil resources’ can provide more information about undiscovered oil resources, and where they might be located.


Total Reserves


[The total world reserves of crude oil including lease condensate reserves, in 2020, was 1662 billions of barrels]


In addition to the US EIA estimate, also shows the OPEC and BP estimates in their guide at the bottom of the table they provide


Reserve Trends Over Time shows that (paraphrased) proved global crude oil reserves have increased from 1027.5 billions of barrels in 1990, to 1732.4 in 2020


This might be considered a large increase in reserves.


Why Reserve Estimates Can Change Over Time

There’s a range of reasons that reserve estimates change from year to year. provides a good summary of some of the main reasons, which can include:

‘New discoveries, thorough appraisals of existing fields, production of existing reserves, changes in prices, costs, ownership, or planned infrastructure, new and improved techniques and technologies’


Total Resources vs Recoverable Reserves

Recoverable oil reserves might need to meet certain criteria in order to be considered ‘technically recoverable’

Recoverable oil reserves (also called proven or producible oil reserves) might be:

Oil of a particular quality or with particular characteristics, that can be recovered with today’s technology and extraction techniques (sometimes called ‘technical access’), is accessible (both physically, and geographically or politically), and is financially feasible to extract and produce under today’s economic conditions (at today’s oil price).


So, when resources are officially converted to oil reserves, it’s usually oil that has been assessed to meet this criteria or a similar criteria that makes it extractable.


Which Country Has The Largest Oil Reserves?

Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves according to the reports below

However, some reports indicate that when taking into account current oil discoveries, Saudi Arabia may have the most, and when taking into account future discoveries, the US may have the most


Countries That Currently Have The Most Oil Reserves


[The country with the most crude oil reserves including lease condensate reserves, in 2020, in billions of barrels, was Venezuela at 303]

[Second was Saudi Arabia at 267, Canada third at 170, Iran fourth at 156, and Iraq fifth at 145]


In addition to the above data from US EIA, also provides a table showing data from OPEC and BP for each country


In 2019, Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves, at 303.2 billion barrels or proven oil reserves – 17.9% of world total (


Which Country Might Have The Most Discovered Oil, & Also The Most Future Recoverable Oil?

It might be Saudi Arabia based on already discovered oil

But, it might be the US based on potential future discoveries of recoverable oil indicates that:

[When considering] ‘expected oil production from future discoveries as deemed likely’, [the US leads the world in terms of recoverable oil]

In terms of already discovered oil, Saudi Arabia is still far ahead of all other countries [right now]


A Note About Estimates Given Of Different Countries’ Oil Reserves

Something to note about proven oil reserves data between countries is that it can either be disputed, or, different sources (such as OPEC, CIA World Factbook, and different oil companies) can present different data for or the amount of oil reserves each country has.


Oil reserve estimates and data should specify:

– The type of oil that is being estimated

For example, some estimates include only conventional oil resources, whilst other estimates include both conventional oil resources and unconventional oil resources (such as oil shale, mined oil sands, and natural gas liquids).


– The definition of ‘proven’ and what it includes

Proven oil reserves for example can have different interpretations from different groups i.e. industry definitions vs geologist definitions notes: ‘When countries officially report proved oil reserves, some governments refer to the industry’s strict definition of commercially proved reserves, while other governments use definitions that are more in line with how geologists would apply the term, ie. proved by exploration activities rather than by development activities’


– Other inclusions and exclusions of the oil estimate

Such as whether the estimate involves just land based oil, or also the oil in water bodies such as the ocean too


So, overall, its important to check what different reports include and don’t include in their final data sets and estimations.


Some unofficial reports indicate that the data from some countries might have credibility issues compared to data that comes from third party independent geological and engineering parties.

There’s claims that some countries may intentionally misrepresent data for geopolitical reasons or other reasons.


How Much Oil Reserves Does The United States Have?

Again, the data below indicates that the US’ proven reserves right now don’t rank among the largest proven oil reserves worldwide

However, when considering projections for future discoveries, and also unconventional oil sources as well as undiscovered technically recoverable oil, the US might have far more oil than is currently reported




[In 2020, the US had 47 billions of barrels of crude oil reserves including lease condensate reserves]


Other Oil Resources & Unconventional Oil Resources In The US

According to Rystad Energy via

… the US has 264 billion barrels of oil reserves including ‘existing fields, new projects, recent discoveries as well as projections in undiscovered fields …

[and] More than half of America’s untapped oil is unconventional shale oil …

Shale oil is the previously-unreachable crude that, thanks to fracking and new technology, has reshaped the global energy landscape and vaulted the U.S. into the upper echelon of global oil producers

When taking this into account, the top 5 countries are the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Iran.


The amount of undiscovered technically recoverable oil resources [in the US is an] additional 198 billion barrels (


Total Global Oil Production

Global oil production can be broken down by total petroleum and other liquids production

But, it can also be broken down by refined petroleum products production (which equates to a smaller amount than all petroleum and liquids).

It appears oil production in the major countries has increased over time between the years 1980 and 2020

We’ve included all petroleum and other liquids production below.


Total Production


[Total world production of petroleum and other liquids, in millions of barrels per day, was 93.80 in 2020, 95.55 in 2021, and is projected to be 100.21 in 2022, and 102.21 in 2023]


Production Over Time has a chart of the top 5 oil producing countries from 1980 to 2020

The general trend (paraphrased) is that production has increased year on year for the major countries, even though the US for example has experienced periodic drops in oil production in the past


Which Country Produces The Most Oil?

Again, this can be broken down by all petroleum and other liquids production, or just refined petroleum products production.

We’ve included all petroleum and other liquids production below.

The US by far has the largest oil production total in the world

Countries with the highest per capita production can vary




[In 2020, in millions of barrels per day, the country that produced the most total petroleum and other liquids, was the US at 18,609]

[Saudi Arabia was second at 10,846, and Russia was third at 10,496]


Per Capita

The resource also shows oil production per capita, with Kuwait and Qatar being the two top per capita producers in based on 2017 data


Which Companies (& Oil Majors) Produce The Most Oil, & Who Owns The World’s Oil?

On both a worldwide and US scale, there might be a relatively small number of producers and oil majors responsible for producing most of the world’s oil, and having most of the world’s proven oil reserves

The individual producers and oil major are identified below


Largest Producers – Worldwide

Saudi Aramco was the largest producer by far in 2018 (


Largest Producers – In The US


The two largest US oil majors [are] ExxonMobil and Chevron

In total, US oil companies produce more than 15 percent of the world’s oil


Largest Proven Oil Reserves – Worldwide

Aramco, Rosneft, and PDVSA own majority of the world’s proven oil reserves (


Largest Proven Oil Reserves – US

Of the US oil majors, ExxonMobil and Chevron also have the largest proven oil reserves (


Total Global Oil Demand & Consumption

Like oil production, consumption of oil can be broken down into all petroleum and other liquids consumption, or just refined petroleum products consumption.

We’ve included all petroleum and other liquids consumption below.

Demand/consumption appears to be trending up recently



[Total world consumption of petroleum and other liquids, in millions of barrels per day, was 91.88 in 2020, 97.38 in 2021, and is projected to be 99.80 in 2022, and 101.73 in 2023]


Are We Running Out Of Oil, & Will We Run Out Of Oil In The Future?

There’s obviously no definitive answer to this question, but estimates and general answers might be provided

The short answer is that the world likely won’t run out of oil resources in the short term.

In the medium to long term, being able to continue to extract and use oil resources (and reserves) might take into consideration some of these key factors:


– Demand for oil over time

Higher demand places more burden on production to meet this demand

One chart shows that overall, global crude oil demand is trending up from 2006 up until the present time


– Production of oil over time

The higher production, the faster reserves might be depleted, but also the greater the demand that can be met

Several charts showing the annual global production of oil generally trending up

Additionally, different countries invest in oil production capacity at different scales compared to other countries.

Those that invest more heavily in oil production, may see greater production


– Whether there is new exploration for, and discovery of recoverable oil resources

New exploration and discovery of recoverable resources increases the potential to convert these resources to proven reserves


– Whether annual proven reserves charts are trending down, trending up, or stable

Proven reserves can change year to year as more recoverable resources are converted to reserves

In their reports, shows that proved crude oil reserves have increased from 1027.5 billions of barrels in 1990, to 1732.4 in 2020

It might be accurate to say that if reserves are staying stable or increasing year to year, unless there are issues in the supply chain, oil isn’t at risk of running out.

If reserves are trend down over a period of time, the opposite might be more accurate



Because proven reserves include oil recoverable under current economic conditions, nations may see large increases in proven reserves when known, but previously uneconomic deposits become economic to develop. 

[Both Canada and Venezuela have seen jumps in proven reserves in the past when resources became assessed as now being economic to extract]


According to, from June 2017 to June 2018:

… the US added close to 50 billion barrels [over this time period] …

This vast increase of estimated recoverable oil in the US over [this time] relates largely to a doubling of hydraulic fracturing operations in the Permian basin, where [there are] more reserves per well drilled, and to new areas and formations that have been geologically proved


– In addition to primary oil resources, there are unconventional oil resources

Examples of unconventional oil resources are listed above in this guide

Unconventional oil resources can be more difficult to extract than conventional resources, however, if we can extract them in the future at a greater scale, they can add to current reserves


– New technology and mining/extraction processes, and whether prices for oil change

New technologies and extraction processes might help access resources that were previously not accessible, or extract resources in a more economically feasible way

Likewise, higher prices can allow previously unprofitable resources to be extracted and brought to market


[A director of the USGS mentioned that] In the twelve years since the last [oil resources] assessment, the steady progress in technology now allows additional resources to be regarded as technically recoverable (


An online search for ‘new ways to produce oil’ also outlines several new technologies, drilling methods, and other processes that may allow new oil resources to be accessed, or extracted at a specific price.


The World Running Out Of Coal vs Individual Countries Running Out Of Oil

There’s a difference between the world running out of oil, and an individual country running out of oil

The factors impacting both might be different.

It’s possible that globally there can be enough oil being produced to meet demand, but individual countries can experience supply deficits for a range of reasons.

Some countries may also generally be at a surplus because of abundant and accessible domestic supplies.

So, access to oil can differ based on geography.


Why We Might Never Run Out Of Some Mined Resources

We put together this guide which explains why we might never run out of some resources:

We Might Never Run Out Of Mined Resources (Minerals, Metals, Fossil Fuels etc) – Here’s Why

One of the general points we make is that once easily/cheaply extractable deposits of resources like oil are exhausted, oil may simply become more expensive as new extraction activities become more costly.


When Will We Run Out Of Oil? … How Many Years Worth Of Oil Do We Have Left?

There’s might be no definitive answer to this question

Only estimates might be able to be made, and they can change as factors like proven reserve totals, production totals, and consumption totals change year to year.

What can be seen below is that estimates vary on a global level, and also between individual countries.


Estimates By Country

Venezuela might have have one of the highest production in reserve totals amongst all countries has a table showing the years of production each country has based on the reserves they have:

[Of the countries with the highest proven oil reserves, Venezuela has 1578 years of production in reserve, Saudi Arabia 76 years, Iran 214 years, Canada 111 years, and Iraq 97 years]


Estimates In The US Specifically

Depending on the metric used, the US might have anywhere from 11 to 79 years of oil production left


According to, from June 2017 to June 2018:

… the US added close to 50 billion barrels [over this time period] and now holds an estimated 310 billion barrels of recoverable oil with current technologies, equal to 79 years of US oil production at present output levels. has a table showing the years of production each country has based on the reserves they have:

[The US has 11 years]


Global Estimates

Global estimates may range anywhere from around 30 to 53 years.

Some examples of specific global estimates are: 


Total world proved oil reserves reached 1687.9 billion barrels at the end of 2013, sufficient to meet 53.3 years of global production (


[Taking into consideration the current rate of oil production and current known oil reserves, we have about 50.7 years worth of oil reserves left] ( 


… proven oil … reserves are equivalent to around 50 … years at current production levels (


[Based on production rates and how fast crude oil reserves are diminishing … without taking into account future population growth … our known oil deposits will last until 2052] (


Oil Shortages

An analysis of world and country specific oil shortages is outside the scope of this guide.

There can be a number of variables involved with potential shortages of any resource, and they can change over time.

As one example, over the same time period, one country may have an abundance of affordable oil domestically (or access it via imports), but, other countries may struggle to get enough supply domestically or via international trade for a number of reasons, and may experience significant price increases.

We have referred generally to what several recent reports have indicated about past, present and future oil demand and supply, and also shortages.


From ‘There’s no global shortage yet; far from it. The world can still produce [a significant amount of crude oil] also discussed how (paraphrased) Russia is the world’s largest exporter of crude and petroleum products, and how the Russia/Ukraine activity is placing anxiety on global oil supply shortages, as well as pushing oil prices higher 

In 2022, ‘Commercial oil stocks in rich countries were rapidly declining as supplies fall short of demand’

The impact of rising oil prices related to these events could push down demand has a good timeline of oil dependence and foreign policy in the US from 1850 to 2022

In 2022, they outline how (paraphrased) global oil markets, specifically oil (and gasoline) prices, were impacted by activity between Russia and Ukraine.

The US discussed increased domestic oil production, and a quicker transition to renewable energy

There was also discussion of releasing strategic emergency reserves, and smoothing relations with countries that could supply more oil


What Happens If We Start Running Out Of Oil?

Running out of any resource may impact things such as:

– The availability of that resource for the key things we use it for across society


– The price of that resource as it becomes more scarce, and consequently, the affordability of the things we use that resource for 

This is something we mentioned in our guide about why we may not run out of mined resources anytime soon.

As easily and cheaply mined deposits of oil start to be depleted, the price of oil will likely start to increase before oil runs out.

This is partially a result of extraction and oil mining activities becoming more costly (if harder to reach, or more costly to mine oil deposits have to be mined).


Is Oil A Renewable Resource?

Oil is considered a non-renewable resource.

It’s considered to be a finite resource, and we consume it at a faster rate than it forms naturally.


Managing Oil Resources More Sustainably

There might be a range of ways to manage oil more sustainably, including but not limited to:

– Reducing consumption and demand for oil

– Using oil more efficiently

– Substituting oil as an energy source for other energy sources where possible


These options and others might place less of a burden on extracting new oil in the future.


Reducing Oil Consumption & Demand

A few examples of reducing oil consumption and demand might be:

– Using alternative fuels that use less petroleum, such as some biofuels that use a petroleum blend

– Increasing the efficiency of fuels that are petroleum based, and also the vehicles that use them

– Increasing the efficiency of oil fired steam generating plants i.e. the rate at which they convert oil to power 


Potential Substitutes For Oil

Oil and petroleum based fuels can be substituted with other types of fuel.

Additionally, oil used for energy generation can be substituted with other resources used for energy generation (fully, or partially)

We already do this now, and it can both help reduce emissions, as well as reduce the consumption/demand for oil (which may also help in the future if oil starts to become more scarce, and/or more expensive to extract and use)

Renewable energy sources and alternative energy sources like solar, wind, water, nuclear energy and others offer energy sources for the future separate to oil.

There’s also alternate fuel and alternate energy vehicles to consider.

Some types of fuels, such as some biofuels, may also not require blending with petroleum products at all (as opposed to partial blends).

Additionally, indicates that (paraphrased) liquid fuels can be made from natural gas, which can increase supply further.


Turning Plastic Back Into Oil

Both and discuss how (paraphrased) some technologies are developing that may allow companies to break down some plastics and turn them back into oil.


Right now, two of the challenges or limitations to doing this might be:

– The energy and resources required to carry out this process

– And, also that using the technology on larger commercial scales may be 5-10 years away, or more.


But, if this technology continues to develop, it may partially help with some future oil supply issues.


How Much Gasoline Is Left In The World?

Much of what we’ve written above applies in answering this question, as according to ‘[Gasoline] consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives’

However, gasoline is sometimes also made by breaking down natural gas. 

We’ve put together a guide outlining how much natural gas might be left, and how natural gas can be turned into gasoline here.


Will We Run Out Of Petrol?

Petrol is usually another word for petroleum, or gasoline.

We’ve discussed both petroleum and gasoline in the guide above, so this information can be relevant to whether we will run out of petrol.


Will We Run Out Of Fuel?

Oil/petroleum is one of the main sources of fuel for conventional vehicles and other types of transport in the world.

Therefore, the information contained in the guide above is relevant to whether we might run out of fuel.

However, other types of fuel exist such as gas fuel, biofuels, nuclear fuel, and so on.

For gas fuel, you can refer to this guide about how much natural gas we might have left.


Burning The Remaining Oil Reserves – Potential Impact On A Changing Climate

It is perhaps worth consideration what impact burning the remaining coil reserves might have on a changing climate.

Some reports indicate majority of the remaining reserves have to left in the ground to achieve climate goals.


… we will have to leave between 65 to 80 percent of current known reserves untouched if we are to stand a chance of keeping average global temperature rise below our two-degrees global target (






















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