Saudi Arabia has the largest proven oil reserves in the world, estimated to be 267 billion barrels (42×10^9 m3) including 2.5 billion barrels in the Saudi-Kuwaiti neutral zone. This is around one-fifth of the world's total conventional oil reserves. Although Saudi Arabia has around 100 major oil and gas fields, over half of its oil reserves are contained in only eight giant oil fields, including the Ghawar Field, the biggest oil field in the world with an estimated 70 billion barrels (11×10^9 m3) of remaining reserves. Saudi Arabia maintains the world’s largest crude oil production capacity, estimated to be around 11 million barrels per day (1.7×10^6 m3/d) at mid-year 2008 and has announced plans to increase this capacity to 12.5 million barrels per day (2.0×10^6 m3/d) by 2009
Saudi Arabia produced 10.6 million barrels per day in 2006, and 10.3 million in 1980. At the beginning of 2008, the kingdom was producing around 9.2 million barrels per day (1.46×10^6 m3/d) of oil. After US President Bush asked the Saudis to raise production on a visit to Saudi Arabia in January 2008, and they declined, Bush questioned whether they had the ability to raise production any more. In the summer of 2008, Saudi Arabia announced an increase in planned production of 500,000 barrels per day. However there are experts who believe Saudi oil production has already peaked or will do so soon.
Despite its large number of oil fields, 90 percent of Saudi Arabia's oil production comes from only five fields, and up to 60 percent of its production comes from the Ghawar field. Since 1982 the Saudis have withheld their well data and any detailed data on their reserves, giving outside experts no way to verify Saudi claims regarding the overall size of their reserves and output. This has causes some to question the current state of their oil fields. In a study discussed in Matthew Simmons book Twilight in the Desert, 200 technical papers on Saudi reserves by the Society of Petroleum Engineers were analyzed to reach the conclusion that Saudi Arabia's oil production faces near term decline, and that it will not be able to consistently produce more than current levels. Simmons also argues that the Saudis may have irretrievably damaged their large oil fields by over-pumping salt water into the fields in an effort to maintain the fields' pressure and boost short term oil extraction amounts.
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