SAUDI OIL….Via Tapped, I see that Saudi Arabia is claiming that it has a lot more oil than Matt Simmons or anyone else thinks they have. From Bloomberg:

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, will “soon” almost double its proven reserve base, adding 200 billion barrels to the current estimate of 264 billion, said the nation’s oil minister, Ali al-Naimi.

….”There will be plenty of oil available to meet future demand,” al-Naimi said today in Johannesburg. Prices are high now because “the petroleum industry faces infrastructure constraints and bottlenecks that are causing market volatility and restricting its ability to bring oil from the ground to the consumer.”

That would be good news indeed, and I hope al-Naimi is right. More specifically, though, I hope that al-Naimi is willing to provide transparent evidence that this increase is real, and not based on wishful thinking or political calculation. Estimating proven reserves is a tricky science, and the only way to know that anyone’s numbers are legitimate is if they’re opened up for review by outside experts. Is Saudi Arabia willing to do that?

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