Saudis say don't worry about peak oil

Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:17am EST
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DAVOS (Reuters) - There is still plenty of oil in the ground and the world should put aside fears about "peak oil," the head of the Saudi state oil firm Saudi Aramco said on Thursday.

"The concern about peak oil is behind us," chief executive Khalid al-Falih told a session on energy supplies at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The peak oil theory that oil supply is at or near its peak gained currency when prices zoomed to a record of nearly $150 a barrel in 2008. The issue remains a concern for many in the industry.

Total's TOTF.PA chief executive Thierry Desmarest said the world would struggle to surpass 95 million barrels per day (BPD) in the future -- 10 percent above present levels. "The problem of peak oil remains," he told the same panel.

His contention was swatted aside by Falih.

"Of the 4 trillion (barrels) of oil the planet is endowed with, only 1 has been produced," Falih said.

"Granted most of what remains is more difficult and complex (to exploit) ... there's no doubt we can do a lot more than the 95, 100 (million barrels) that are projected in the next few decades."

Saudi Arabia has a long list of projects in its portfolio that would more than offset declines, he said.

(Reporting by Gerard Wynn and Ben Hirschler; Editing by Jon Boyle)