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Gas Energy Reserves—Oil Coal and Uranium - Crude Oil

proved barrels alaska gulf

From 1992 through 2002, total U.S. crude oil proved reserves declined through 1996, rose then fell in 1997 and 1998, and have been climbing since the dip in 1998. On December 31, 2002, crude oil reserves were at 22.7 billion barrels—near the 1997 reserves level. Together, Texas, Alaska, California, and the Gulf of Mexico offshore areas accounted for 79% of U.S. proved reserves in 2002. (See Table 7.1.) Of these four regions, Texas, the Gulf of Mexico offshore areas, and California had increases in crude oil proved reserves in 2002. Alaska reported a decline.

Proved reserves of crude oil and natural gas rose in 1970 with the inclusion of Alaska's North Slope oil fields.

TABLE 7.1

Proved reserves of crude oil, by selected states and state subdivisions, December 31, 2002
Area Percent of U.S. oil reserves
SOURCE: U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves 2002 Annual Report, U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Office of Oil and Gas, December 2003, http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/natural_gas/data_publications/crude_oil_natural_gas_reserves/current/pdf/arr.pdf (accessed November 17, 2004)
Texas 22
Alaska 21
Gulf of Mexico federal offshore 20
California 16
Area total 79

Since then, Alaskan reserves have steadily declined. In 1987 Alaska was estimated to have 13.2 billion barrels of crude oil; by 2002 it had only 4.7 billion barrels. (See Figure 7.1.) Crude oil proved reserves fell by 173 million barrels in Alaska from 2001 to 2002.

The Gulf of Mexico federal offshore areas, which are in U.S. territorial waters, had about 4.4 billion barrels of crude oil proved reserves in 2002 (see Figure 7.1), up 156 million barrels from 2001 to 2002. Improvements in deepwater drilling systems—floating platforms and subsea wells—have allowed the industry to expand into continually deeper Gulf waters in search of crude oil. The Gulf holds much promise for future reserves discoveries.

In 1996 scientists turned their attention to the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico, where plenty of dry-land potential for crude oil was found, making it one of the most active onshore areas for recent exploration. In 2002 Texas had about five billion barrels of crude oil proved reserves, up seventy-one million

FIGURE 7.1

barrels from 2001. Proved reserves in New Mexico dropped by five million barrels from 2001 to 2002.

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