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World Reserves of Crude Oil Bubble Up

ESTIMATES of the world's proved reserves of crude oil have increased by 30 percent since 1986. A report by Platt's Oilgram News says these reserves now total 121 billion metric ton, up from 91.5 billion tons. The increase is primarily due to a major reappraisal of Middle Eastern reserves.

By contrast, United States reserves declined by 200 million tons.

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The reserve report, done by the World Energy Conference (WEC), indicates that proved crude reserves in Iran increased by 6.5 billion tons, in Iraq by 7.6 billion tons, in Kuwait by 2.7 billion tons, and in the United Arab Emirates by 9 billion tons.

Reserves in Venezuela rose by 4 billion tons, and in Egypt by 2 billion tons.

Proved reserves of natural gas also rose 14 percent, according to the report, ``1989 Survey of Energy Resources.''

Some 35 percent of the total gas reserves are located in the Soviet Union.

Proved gas reserves have been doubling every 10 years. They have gone from 17.5 trillion cubic meters (t.c.m.) in 1960 to about 109 t.c.m. in 1987 and between 115 and 120 t.c.m. in 1989, the report says.

The WEC expects gas production to grow in almost all continents. It will be particularly strong in the Soviet Union, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Western Europe ``can hope for minimal progress at best over the next few years.''

The US, which experienced a slight rise in production over the last two years, should return to a steady decline in its production, the report says.

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The report also notes that nuclear energy, coal, and gas have been displacing oil, especially its heavy distillation cuts, in the production of electricity and in industry.

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