The largest oilfield in the world is the Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia, with an estimated ultimately recoverable reserve of some 60-100 billion barrels of oil.
However, a few caveats are necessary to understand the true size of the field, the first of which is that all statistics concerning Saudi oilfields are considered state secrets and information concerning them closely guarded by Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company. Secondly, the supergiant Ghawar may be more accurately divided into five separate areas with drastically different crude quality and permeability, with the cheaper and “easier” oil generally located in the sections further to the north. From north to south (also the order in which they have been developed), these areas are: Shedgum, Ain Dar, Uthmaniya, Hawiyah, and Haradh.
The Ghawar field was discovered in 1948, and its first oil came online in 1951. The field is believed to have a maximum production rate in the range of 5 million barrels per day; its depletion levels and the question of whether its production has already peaked or not are the subject of intense scrutiny and debate.
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