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Who Really Controls The World’s Oil Reserves?


Big Oil majors in the United States have found themselves the target of much pressure to boost production lately, as prices go wild amid a tight—and tightening—market. At the same time, the U.S. government, as well as the EU, have been looking all over the world for more supply. Wood Mackenzie just had some bad news for them. According to new research from the energy consultancy, more than half—65 percent, to be precise—of the world’s discovered oil and gas reserves are under the control of national oil companies.

The reason this is bad news is that, in addition to NOCs like Saudi Aramco, QatarEnergy, and Abu Dhabi’s Adnoc, these companies also include Russia’s Rosneft and Gazprom, the National Iranian Oil Company, and Venezuela’s PDVSA.

These seven companies, according to Wood Mac analysts, can keep producing oil and gas at their current rates for the next 40 to 60 years or even longer if they tap their spare capacity.

It was national oil companies that have made 41 percent of all new oil and gas discoveries in conventional resources since 2011, the analysts noted. What’s more, the NOCs’ share in new discoveries has been on the increase since 2018 as the energy transition push prompts the evolution of their exploration strategies, the report said.

In total, national oil companies have discovered more than 100 billion barrels of oil equivalent since 2011, the report said, which was twice what oil majors discovered. But not all is rosy for the NOCs. Unlike the majors, NOCs were significantly worse at commercializing these new discoveries, the Wood Mac analysts noted.

Two-thirds of what Big Oil has discovered since 2011 is considered viable and advantaged. On the other hand, two-thirds of what the NOCs have discovered is considered contingent.

This could, of course, change with the right incentive. Right now, however, it seems that the NOCs, especially in the Middle East, don’t have much of an incentive, especially as prices begin sliding under the weight of recession fears.

The fact remains, however, that most of the already discovered oil and gas in the world, two-thirds of it, is under the control of just seven companies, of which four are subject to sanctions from some of the world’s biggest oil and gas consumers.

One might brush this off on the basis that these large consumers, in the face of Europe and the United States, notably, are moving towards an economic model much less dependent on fossil fuels than it has been hitherto.

An argument could be made—and it has been made by organizations such as Ember—that these barrels of oil and cubic meters of gas are future stranded assets that will fade into obsolescence before the middle of the century rolls around.

Just how valid such a brush-off or an argument would be, however, is a different matter. The last six months, and especially the last three months, have prompted some serious reconsiderations of priorities in European capitals and in Washington. Both have gone from staunch opponents of oil and gas to cautious defenders as energy security trumped emission fears for the first time in years.

As true as that might be, the governments of Europe and the U.S., two of the biggest consumers of oil and gas globally, believe that this refocusing on energy security will only be a short-term matter. Oil and gas will be necessary only for a few more years, their reasoning goes, until we build enough wind parks and solar farms. Coal, too.

The fact that European buyers are signing long-term contracts for U.S. LNG, however, suggests something else. It suggests an acknowledgment that oil and gas might very well continue to be necessary for not years but decades to come.

And there are just seven companies that can keep supplying that oil and that gas for decades to come without regulatory, government, or activist investor pressure of the kind Big Oil has been subjected to in recent years—pressure that has been affecting its production rates. The future, then, belongs to national oil companies.

Irina Slav of

40 Comments on "Who Really Controls The World’s Oil Reserves?"

  1. Dredd on Sun, 17th Jul 2022 2:15 pm 

    Oil-Qaeda owns the oil and the countries (Oil-Qaeda: The Deadliest Parasite Of Civilization).

    Big Pharma owns the pills and the DNA (Junk DNA R Us – 4).

  2. Duncan Idaho on Sun, 17th Jul 2022 3:26 pm 

    Trump-Supporting GOP Congressman Faces Election Fraud Accusations
    (Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), who is running for governor in the fall, is accused of submitting photocopied signatures to get a line on the ballot.)

    Pretty minor for a repug.

  3. Duncan Idaho on Sun, 17th Jul 2022 3:56 pm 

    “we don’t invite assholes to our parties because, well, they’re assholes and everyone hates them”

    I even debated this asshole—

  4. Duncan Idaho on Mon, 18th Jul 2022 6:15 pm 

    “Another way to put it,” reports The Atlantic, “is that the Secret Service has been a rolling disaster, with almost too many breaches to keep track of.”

    “if there is even a whisper of truth to the new accusations being leveled against the Secret Service, the entire agency should be razed to the ground and salted with quicklime”.

  5. Duncan Idaho on Tue, 19th Jul 2022 6:12 pm 

    “In any case, the fact that they failed to upload texts from this particular period which was one of the most historic events of our time is more than a little bit suspicious. From what we know about the Trumpers crawling all over that agency, it’s obvious they may have had something to hide.”

  6. FamousDrScanlon on Wed, 20th Jul 2022 10:44 am 

    New Rule: The United States of Dumb-merica | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)

    New Rule: We have to figure out how a country can solve any problem if so many of its people are so intractably, astoundingly stupid.

  7. FamousDrScanlon on Wed, 20th Jul 2022 11:30 am 

    UK shatters record for its hottest day ever; London fire service declares ‘major incident’

    Britain recorded its hottest-ever day Tuesday, with temperatures hitting a high of 40.3 degrees Celsius (104.5 degrees Fahrenheit) in the east of England, according to provisional data from the Met Office.

    London’s fire brigade declared a major incident after a “huge surge” in fires across the capital Tuesday.

    Millions of Brits endured the country’s hottest-ever night Monday, with temperatures remaining above 25C in places.

  8. FamousDrScanlon on Wed, 20th Jul 2022 11:37 am 

    Note: In the past 2 days almost every station in England and Wales beat its all time record. In some cases, in Northern England the records were beaten by incredible margins of 4C/5C or even more. A complete list of records beaten will be available in my website in few days.

    Heatwave: Wales’ hottest day as temperature hits 37.1C

    The Met Office said it had broken the previous record of 35.2C, set in the same place in 1990.

    Temperature hits 34.8C on Scotland’s hottest day

    It surpasses the previous record of 32.9C recorded in Greycrook in the Borders on 9 August 2003.

    It comes on day two of an amber weather warning for extreme heat and just hours after the UK set a new record of 40.2C at Heathrow in London.

  9. FamousDrScanlon on Wed, 20th Jul 2022 11:38 am 

    “Exceptional event in France with night temperatures above 30C [86F] with fohn effect.

    “The station of Pointe de la Hague [Normandy] had its hottest day on records (1921-2022, 101 years of data) in the middle of the night with 32.8C. This is an extremely rare event (for all time records).”

  10. FamousDrScanlon on Wed, 20th Jul 2022 11:40 am 

    “Record high temperatures were registered in 64 different areas around France on Monday as a heatwave peaked in the country, the national weather service confirmed on Tuesday.

    “Most of the highs were recorded along the western Atlantic coast where temperatures have soared above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and several forest fires are raging.”

  11. FamousDrScanlon on Wed, 20th Jul 2022 12:03 pm 

    “Monster octopus” fires in France are “no longer controllable” as experts warn only a break in heatwave and change in weather can stop an inferno that has scorched an area four times the entire size of Bordeaux.

    “In Gironde, 47,000 acres have been burnt in a blaze that has raged since last week and forced the evacuation of 37,000 people, including 16,000 on Monday, and a thousand zoo animals.”

    I was thinking about all the blame and anger out there directed towards climate deniers by the terrified masses.

    They always need a scapegoat. Obviously since humans invented a word for that particular behaviour under very specific circumstances.

    Once the mob has targeted you the only way to survive is to flee, far & fast.

    Funny because other than a few mentally disturbed coal rollers, I can find no difference in the carbon & eco footprints of the average denier-tard vs the average non denier-tard.

    Income/credit is the best predictor of a human’s climate & eco footprint. Same for nations.

    For those who have made an effort to reduce your eco & carbon footprints, your efforts are statistically insignificant. Same for institutional efforts and/or policy changes or any other schemes. Every relevant graph is a hockey stick graph.

    The humans are unlikely to get out of the 21st century.

  12. Hello on Wed, 20th Jul 2022 12:43 pm 

    >>> I can find no difference in the carbon & eco footprints of the average denier-tard vs the average non denier-tard.

    Yes. Very true. You’re one of the few who gets it.

  13. Hello on Wed, 20th Jul 2022 12:48 pm 

    I’m glad to see europe is adjusting its temperature upwards to cater for all imported negros and ragheads. That will make them feel right at home. And europe has a history of bending over backwards to accommodate invaders.
    That’s what europe is all about. Bending over backwards for invaders.

    Why shouldn’t that extend to climate?

  14. Ted Wilson on Wed, 20th Jul 2022 3:30 pm 

    after foolishly shutting down the well functioning nuclear plants, now they want to bring it back.
    The germans, beliags, swiss, koreans and finally the japanese.
    luckily the french did not shutdown still.

  15. FamousDrScanlon on Thu, 21st Jul 2022 11:50 am 

    Hello, most invasion of Europe was by other Europeans. The Muzzies penetrated around the edges for a bit, but really only their handy inventions, math, science & architecture remain.

    Did you know that some of the church and secular authorities in Europe turned a blind eye to slave trade of Christians by muzzie-Barbary slave traders? For $$$$$$.

    Your fellow white man will enslave you, economically at home, or in chains abroad and sleep like a baby.

    The family unit is the first and only tribe that matters and even then they cannot all be trusted.

    The white euro-tard tribe you lament so is fickle as a bitch and millions of your white “brothers” will not hesitate to steal your shit and your woman if they think they can get away with it.

    How many European aristocrats have killed their brother(s), father or nephew(s) so they could be king? More than I have time to list today.

    Men, of all colours, are highly corruptible and the most surprising things is just how little some of them sell out for.

    Trust is at a premium in this day and age and having strong relationships with family and long term friends is your best bet-defence going forward.

    Sharing skin colour due to lack of melanin does not make someone my brother.

  16. Biden's hairplug on Thu, 21st Jul 2022 12:01 pm 

    Middle class Americans are fleeing to Europe in large numbers. Reason: unaffordable homes (and violence in the cities)

    Most popular destinations: Portugal, Spain, Italy.

  17. FamousDrScanlon on Thu, 21st Jul 2022 12:28 pm 

    That’s right clog. Middle class libtards are moving to Euroland to escape libtard policies that have blown up in their face.

    Anyway you look at it, no American party or politicians have their back.

    Apparently in the very near future American kids bullet proof backpacks will be useless.

    Sig Sauer about to unleash pure terror upon American streets

    “This is just beyond insane. The psychopaths who run the gun manufacturer Sig Sauer are about to release the MCX-SPEAR, which is the civilian version of the US Army’s new NGSW-R (Next Generation Squad Weapon-Rifle) onto American streets, as if the AR-15 wasn’t bad enough.”

    “Gunhumpers, Gundamentalists, and Ammosexuals are literally salivating at the opportunity to get this fancy new weapon into their hands. This is a LITERAL WAR WEAPON that Sig Sauer is unleashing upon America. It’s ONLY purpose is to defeat body armor and turn gun victims into red mist.”

    Red mist? It looks more like a pinkish mist to me.

    In case you’re a gun nut in need of masturbating.

    I like the rifle, but still hate the relatively new way of holding it, limp wristed fag hold and the double fag shuffle walk.

    That shit comes out of the competitive shooting community which is full of women.
    Walk like a man and hold your gun like a man. Leave the fag shuffle and limp wrist for the women.

    What is the point of being a bad ass Marine or Ranger if you are made to walk like a fag with a cock in his ass and hold your gun like Liberace would?

    I know the arguments for it, but looking like a faggot is still looking like a faggot.

  18. FamousDrScanlon on Thu, 21st Jul 2022 3:21 pm 

    clog here’s some more of that famous green growth Dutch style.

    Shell Announces Massive Green Hydrogen Plant to Power Rotterdam Oil Refinery

    “Shell has revealed plans to build a 200-megawatt renewable hydrogen plant in the Netherlands—and to use that green fuel to power its production of petrol, diesel, and jet fuel—as the company continues to invest heavily in oil and gas development worldwide.”

    Every night when I pray, I thank the Lord for choosing the Dutch to lead the white man’s fight against climate change.

  19. FamousDrScanlon on Thu, 21st Jul 2022 3:35 pm 

    Here’s sumore super smart white folk strategy in their fight against climate change.

    BREAKING: Vancouver Votes to Fund Lawsuit Against Big Oil

    “This is a really exciting step for the Sue Big Oil campaign,” he added. “Other cities are now going to have to explain whether they’ll step up and protect their taxpayers from the costs of climate change by following Vancouver’s lead, or whether they’re going to let Big Oil off the hook.”

    There’s talk that next year the city will roll out a climate fighting campaign inspired by Nancy Reagan.

    Oil & Gas – JUST SAY NO!

  20. FamousDrScanlon on Thu, 21st Jul 2022 5:33 pm 

    Like I’ve been saying, someone must take the blame for climate change and it’s ever more frequent, deadly and destructive consequences and right-wing deniers have the bulls eye on them.

    Welcome to the inferno

    This deadly heat is an inevitable consequence of the right’s slash-and-burn approach to climate change.

    “On Tuesday 18 July temperatures were forecast to exceed 40°C in parts of the UK. That will beat the record of 38.7°C set in the 2019 heatwave that killed thousands. As a Spanish forecaster warned at the time: “Hell is coming.”

    “Why, in short, is the only heatwave policy the Heatwave Plan for England, which proposes to control behaviour rather than update the country’s infrastructure?”

    “The Conservative leadership contest encapsulates the blank-eyed, sociopathic vacuousness of this doctrine. Amid a gruelling climate-induced heatwave, the candidates have been preoccupied by crude transphobic baiting and haggling over tax cuts. On climate change, they have either clung to the net-zero status quo”

    “Wherever there has been a choice, neoliberal governments have chosen public squalor, pollution and death. Every “efficiency” that accelerates social and ecological breakdown is dignified by its contribution to “enterprise”, a euphemism for the profitability of the most short-termist, exploitative sectors of capital.”

    More people are dying, losing their homes, livelihood and loved ones to runaway climate change. Before it destroys us all there will be plenty of folks who will want to lay 100% of blame on climate change deniers and punish them harshly.

    To believe that the deniers are mostly responsible requires one to believe in freewill and other delusions of human supremacy.

  21. makati1 on Thu, 21st Jul 2022 5:34 pm 

    The West is going down. It’s like a horse race to the finish and the lead is neck and neck between Amerika and the UK, with the EU catching up and the others trying hard to stay in the race to the bottom.

    The other 7+ billion of us are just watching from the sidelines, cheering it on. The sooner predatory capitalism is killed, along with its pushers, the sooner the rest of the world can be safe.

  22. Duncan Idaho on Thu, 21st Jul 2022 6:00 pm 

    Texas Gov. Abbott’s inaction leads to huge electricity bills—

    Well, it is Texas—

  23. makati1 on Thu, 21st Jul 2022 7:02 pm 

    I owned many used cars in my 50 years of driving and most could be kept on the road for 200,000 miles, for a few dollars in maintenance. Not so electric shit, it seems. Used electric cars will go to the landfill, just like used solar panels.

    “The parents of Avery Siwinski, a 17-year-old of St. Petersburg, spent $11,000 on a used 2014 Ford Focus Electric that had 60,000 miles at the time it was bought…in March, it started giving an alert…After taking the car to a local Ford dealership, the family learned that the mechanical issues were linked to the vehicle’s battery, which apparently needed to be replaced…The repair bill for the battery was a whopping $14,000…the figure presented by mechanics wasn’t even the total, as it didn’t include labor costs.”

  24. makati1 on Thu, 21st Jul 2022 7:05 pm 

    BTW: ““Then we found out the batteries aren’t even available,”

    “No replacement parts” will be the common reply in the future for electronics. It is already happening for many things we think we need.

  25. Cloggie on Fri, 22nd Jul 2022 6:25 am 

    Everywhere in the world, they are working on thin film solar:

    This will cost a few $ per m2, making any notion that the world has an energy crisis obsolete.


  26. Biden's hairplug on Fri, 22nd Jul 2022 6:36 am 

    “Why I left California for Europe (and saved $100,000)”

    (Please don’t come all)

  27. Hello on Fri, 22nd Jul 2022 7:20 am 

    >>> Why I left California for Europe

    You should also show the other side.
    “Why I left germany for silicon valley and made a fortune.”

  28. mousepad on Fri, 22nd Jul 2022 7:46 am 

    >>>> BTW: ““Then we found out the batteries aren’t even available,”

    That’s a problem with a lot of this electronic shit. Neighbor had a fancy refrigerator with an touch panel in the door. After 2 years the panel broke. Replacement not available anymore because the panel is obsolete. Pretty much a 2 year old refrigerator going to the dump because some fancy electronic shit can’t be replaced anymore. A crazy world.

  29. Cloggie on Fri, 22nd Jul 2022 8:10 am 

    According to some NYC consultancy firm, “Oliver & Wyman”, the Netherlands is now the #1 in Europe (and thus world-wide), spearheading the renewable energy transition, even before Denmark:

    These NYC Red Sea Pedestrians love Holland, always have.

  30. Duncan Idaho on Fri, 22nd Jul 2022 12:38 pm 

    “I absolutely will not stand for Republicans and their right-wing Supreme Court taking away marriage equality before I’ve even had the chance to get through my first marriage and divorce”

  31. makati1 on Fri, 22nd Jul 2022 5:08 pm 

    Cloggie, it’s going to make no difference when all your farms are gone.

    Besides, being number one in an area that will never be important means little. Europe is finding out that renewables are way down the survival list. It is even lower than toilet paper. It will only last as long as the governments can support it, which is also ending swiftly. Not profitable w/o tax payer money? Won’t exist.

    But, I understand. A little postage stamp country needs something to brag about. Even is it is questionable.

  32. makati1 on Fri, 22nd Jul 2022 5:12 pm 

    “This will cost a few $ per m2, making any notion that the world has an energy crisis obsolete.”

    More pure techie wet dreams. I’ve seen so many techie promises in my 78 years, I could write a book about them.

  33. Duncan Idaho on Fri, 22nd Jul 2022 6:09 pm 

    Cop Injured On Jan. 6: ‘Josh Hawley Is A Bitch. And He Ran Like A Bitch.’

    ( lets not put down bitches by comparing them to Hawley, that coward)

  34. makati1 on Fri, 22nd Jul 2022 9:33 pm 

    “…Washington’s hegemonic ambitions of global dominance and of salvaging its failing capitalist power depend crucially on pursuing a new Cold War against Russia and China. The world is being thrown into perilous turmoil because of this criminal ambition. Laughably, the European leaders hold pretensions of independence and global influence. They are nothing but pathetic lackeys to American power who are willingly sacrificing their populations in the process.

    The desperation of the U.S. regime and its European minions is such that their societies are teetering on the brink of collapse from economic meltdown. Their reckless warmongering towards Russia (and China) is exacerbating and accelerating their own collapse. The real danger is that the U.S. and its NATO accomplices are now betting on escalating the war in Ukraine as a way to avert the demise of their own nations – a demise that they have induced….

    The West is committing suicide. The rest of the world is cheering it on. Pass the popcorn.

  35. Biden's hairplug on Sat, 23rd Jul 2022 8:34 am 

    In India, environmentalism is for Sissies:

    “Well that backfired! Indian minister, 48, drinks dirty water from ‘holy’ river polluted with sewage to show locals it’s safe… before he’s rushed to hospital after falling ill”

    Tip for makati: in India the weather is even warmer than in the Ps and life even cheaper.


  36. Duncan Idaho on Sat, 23rd Jul 2022 9:37 am 

    “I propose that we alter the American idiom “to haul ass” from now on, substituting “to hawley ass.”

  37. makati1 on Sun, 24th Jul 2022 5:28 pm 

    Ah, but it is not warmth, but evenness. The weather here on the farm is normally 70s at night and 80s during the day and the air quality is always excellent. We are usually blessed with a shower every night and no drought. Not so in India. Many other plus’. Too many to mention here.

  38. Antius on Thu, 28th Jul 2022 5:04 am 

    The western world is very clearly going crazy with cultural Marxist ideals.

    Economically, we are now witnessing the collapse of globalisation. This will be disasterous for East Asian states because (1) They depend upon long supply lines that they cannot police with their own navies; (2) Their demographic structures are too old to provide sufficient domestic consumer bases. China’s demographics are just about the worst in the world. Latest census data suggests that China’s population could halve by 2050. If that is true, then there is no way the PRC will still exist as a functional nation state by the end of this decade.

    I would recommend the work of Peter Zeihan for those who wish to understand what a deglobalised world will look like.

  39. Antius on Thu, 28th Jul 2022 5:11 am 

    “This will cost a few $ per m2, making any notion that the world has an energy crisis obsolete.”

    Highly improbable. The amount of steel, concrete and glass needed to construct a PV power plant is huge. These inputs are getting more expensive, not less. As the Chinese economic system unwinds, there will be severe supply constraints of all of the commodities needed to build renewable tech of all kinds.

  40. Cloggie on Thu, 28th Jul 2022 6:28 am 

    “Highly improbable. The amount of steel, concrete and glass needed to construct a PV power plant is huge.”


    Since thin film solar is so cheap, you can put it flat on the ground, with tent pegs, for all I care. No need for expensive tilting. Btw, steel is abundant and there will be a lot of scrap metal from cars that can be repurposed with little energy.

    0.6 out of 1.7 billion ton steel comes from scrap already.

    “As the Chinese economic system unwinds, there will be severe supply constraints of all of the commodities needed to build renewable tech of all kinds.”

    Even if that’s true, what’s your alternative?

    The car economy is going to implode. Check
    Heating an entire house is finished. Check
    Flying will crash. Check

    So what? We won’t be needing that much energy anyway.

    Just keep breathing and eat 2 eggs and a few onions or beets per day and you’ll be fine.

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