New discoveries to expand Arab Gulf oil reserves

While West Africa and the Caspian Sea are emerging as significant centres of oil production, the Middle East is set to remain the world's primary source of oil thanks to new discoveries in the region.

According to a press release from the organisers of the Arab Oil & Gas Show, expected new discoveries will see oil reserves in the Gulf Arab states and neighbouring Iraq and Iran surge by more than 50 per cent.

Estimates indicate that in early 2002, Saudi Arabia alone accounted for over 260 billion barrels of the total world reserves of about 975 billion barrels of oil.

Iraq was estimated to have about 112.5 billion barrels of oil reserves while the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait followed closely with 97 billion and 96 billion barrels respectively.

Other Gulf countries like Qatar and Oman were estimated as having 15 billion and 5 billion barrels respectively.