The "big" Gulf of Mexico oil discovery; just so you know

Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 09:47 AM

Just about two weeks ago, the press announced the likely discovery of a major oil field in the Gulf of Mexico: an estimated 15 billion barrels of oil.

The potential size of the discovery--all estimates are of the "as much as.." type--got the large headlines.  Buried much further into the story is the actual impact:

The U.S. consumes roughly 5.7 billion barrels of crude-oil in a year, while its reserves currently exceed 29 billion barrels, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

So let's see here: current reserves of 29 billion, estimated max size of the new field 15 billion, a total of 44 billion barrels.  With 5.7 billion a year our current usage, which is likely to grow.  So our total reserves, counting the new field, would equal a little less than 8 years of oil even if our usage stays stagnant.