In the United States proven oil reserves - the amount of oil considered extractable from known fields - are at the sa...

Cameron on June 21 at 05:21PM


Didn't the passage say that the amount of oil was equally "extractable" today than from ten years ago?

1 Reply

Shunhe on June 28 at 07:06PM

Hi @Cammy,

Thanks for the question! So you’er right in that the passage says that the same amount of oil is extractable today as ten years ago. But that’s exactly what the paradox is and what makes this so strange. We know that the oil reserves have stayed the same, they haven’t gone down. But we haven’t found any new oil fields, and we’ve been using more domestically produced oil than ever. So if we’re using oil and not finding any oil, we would expect our oil reserves to go down. But they haven’t been, and this is the paradox that we’re asked to resolve.

Take a look at (E), which tells us that due to technological advances over the last decade, much oil considered unextractable is not considered extractable. Well, if that’s the case, and the meaning of “extractable” has grown to encompass more, then that completely solves the mystery. We might not have found new fields, but we can extract more from current fields. And so since we’ve been able to do that, we’ve been able to keep our reserves at the same level.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any other questions that you might have.