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Saudi Arabia announces rise in oil reserves after external audit

Reuters  |  RIYADH 

By El Gamal

(Reuters) - Top exporter announced a slight rise in its crude reserves on Wednesday after they were independently audited, providing more detail about the size of deposits shrouded in secrecy for decades.

Saudi Arabia's reserves of easily recoverable have long been the world's largest but few details were public. The was started as part of preparations for the initial public offering of company

The said in a statement carried by state agency SPA that Saudi Arabia's proven reserves stood at around 268.5 billion barrels of oil and 325.1 trillion standard cubic feet of gas as of the end of 2017.

"The results point out that the kingdom's reserves of are bigger than what we have been announcing," Saudi told a conference in

The conference took place hours later than initially scheduled and SPA corrected its initial announcement of the reserves figures.

The audit will dispel scepticism in the about the size of Saudi reserves and provide assurance for potential investors, should the IPO which has been delayed eventually go ahead.

For almost 30 years - despite rising production, large swings in and improved technology - had annually reported the same number for reserves at around 261 billion barrels, according to a statistical review by

confirmed for the first time that Dallas-based consultants and MacNaughton carried out the audit.

Plans for the IPO were shelved last year for the forseeable future, sources told says the share sale will "certainly" still happen when conditions are right.

(Writing by and Alex Lawler, editing by and Susan Fenton)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 09 2019. 21:14 IST