Saudi Arabia has announced a rise in its crude oil reserves following an independent audited that was started as part of preparations for the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco.
The Saudi Energy Ministry Khalid Al-Falih said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA that the kingdom's proven oil and gas reserves stood at around 268.5 billion barrels of oil and 325.1 trillion standard cubic feet of gas as of the end of 2017, a Reuters report said.
The figure is larger than the total 260.8 billion barrels Aramco reported in its 2016 annual review.
“The results point out that the kingdom’s reserves of oil and gas are bigger than what we have been announcing,” Al-Falih told a news conference in Riyadh.
The audit will dispel scepticism in the oil industry about the size of Saudi reserves and provide assurance for potential investors in Aramco investors, should the initial public offering which has been delayed eventually go ahead, said the Reuters report.
“This certification underscores why every barrel we produce is the most profitable in the world and why we believe Saudi Aramco is the world’s most valuable company,” Al-Falih said in the statement.
Aramco’s cost of production is a mere $4 a barrel, he said, giving a rare insight into a key metric not usually disclosed.
Industry experts say it can cost between $30 to $50 to produce a barrel of US shale oil.
Saudi Arabia confirmed for the first time that Dallas-based consultants DeGolyer and MacNaughton carried out the audit.