According to the Eni World Oil and Gas Review, the UAE now has 94 years of remaining production. This is based on currently estimated reserves and current production levels. Interestingly, the figure has increased in recent times (it was 86 years in 2008). Of course such figures always vary, based on changes in reserve estimates and changes in production levels.
The UAE has done a tremedous job in diversifying its economy. Going back 25 years, the country was almost entirely dependent on revenues from the upstream oil and gas sector but the vision on the ruling family has led to a vibrant and highly diversified economy. Of course oil revenues are still important but other sectors such as transportation, tourism, financial services and of course, construction have been very strong (despite some blips around the time of the global financial crisis).
Following on from my previous blog posts, Iraq could learn a lot from the UAE. Iraq has a reserves/production ratio of 130 years currently. Of course this figure will shift, as new reserves are identified and production levels are ramped up. Iraq effectively has a blank canvas on which to map out the future for the economy. Hydrocarbon wealth has to be the starting point to build a strong and diversified economy but a short glance across the Arabian Gulf can show Iraq just what can be done.
The world currently has a reserves/production ratio of some 45-55 years (depending on the source of the data). However this figure has remained stable for the last 15 years or so. With more oil being discovered and improved oil recovery techniques, the much discussed production peak, has remained in the distance. Similarly, significant discoveries of unconventional oil and gas will also prolong the world's hydrocarbon future. However the Middle East, with its huge reserves and high reserves/production rations, will continue to dominate the world's oil production for many years to come.