Case Study: Saudi Arabian Oil Reserves

Saudi Arabia contains the second largest claimed oil reserves in the world. It contained an estimate of 267 billion barrels in addition to 2.5 Gigabillionbarrels (Gbbl) present in the Saudi-Kuwaiti neutral zone. Although Saudi Arabia has around 100 major oil and gas fields, over half of its oil reserves are present in eight giant oil fields, such as the Ghawar Field. The Ghawar field is the biggest oil field in the world, with an estimated 70 billion barrels remaining. In its heyday circa the 1980s, Saudi Arabia produced over 10.3 million barrels per day.

The Saudi Arabia oil reserve's first commercial oil well was initiated on March 3, 1938. This well was discovered by CALTEX, two companies that combined forces to drill oil in Saudi Arabia. The two companies that made up CALTEX was CASOC (California Arabian Standard Oil Company) and a Texas Oil Company. In 1943, they changed their name to ARAMCO, or the Arabian American Oil Company and were granted one of the largest (and longest) contracts of oil mining which granted permission to remain until 1999. The change extended the original deal by six years.

chart of Saudi vs Venezuela oil production


chart of Saudi oil production


Saudi key oil fields


chart of energy matters(EuanMearns)

Energy Transformations in Saudi Arabia(GePower Conversion)

Impact of the oil fields

The Saudi Arabian oil fields have impacted the environment greatly. According to, Saudi Arabia received a failing score of 34 in performance on the Resource Governance Index. Saudi Arabia’s natural resource laws are incomplete and do not allow for meaningful public scrutiny of the petroleum sector. The environmental assessment is required but hidden from public thanks to Saudi Arabia's "No Freedom of Information" Law.

Purity and Cleanliness

Pollution in Saudi Arabia


drilling rig in Saudi Arabia

(Earth Beat Radio)

oil on the sea

(Arabia Oil and Gas)

oil in the surf in Saudi Arabia

(Plug-in Cars)

Oneasha Poole

Last Updated: May 23, 2018