Crude oil - reserves in the U.S. 1980-2018

In recent years proven oil reserves in the United States have reached an all-time high of 61.2 billion barrels, more than double the reserves reported around the time of the 2008 financial crisis. Since then, more crude oil has become technologically and economically viable to extract.

New methods, more oil

When the Recession hit in 2008, global oil prices peaked and energy industries in the United States sought to produce more fuel domestically. Investors took advantage of reduced interest in the wake of the financial crisis to develop methods to reach shale gas and oil resources from deep underground. With these permeable rock formations now considered a feasible source of oil, the United States’ proven oil reserves has drastically increased.

Shale oil takes off

As extraction methods such as hydraulic fracturing took off in the United States, domestic production of crude oil surged. Large formations of shale and tight sandstone made Texas and North Dakota the leading producers of crude oil. Already the biggest consumer of oil worldwide, the United States now produces more oil than any other country, exceeding its own high domestic demand.

Crude oil reserves in the United States from 1980 to 2018

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Release date

June 2019


United States

Survey time period

1980 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Proved reserves of oil – generally taken to be those quantities that geological and engineering information indicates with reasonable certainty can be recovered in the future from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions. Reserves include gas condensate and natural gas liquids (NGLs) as well as crude oil.
Figures for years not included in the pdf version were taken from the Data workbook of the Statistical Review.

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