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How Long Will Brunei's Oil Reserves Last?

How Long Will Brunei's Oil Reserves Last?

Brunei, a small Southeast Asian country located on the northern coast of the island of Borneo, is known for its abundant oil and gas reserves. The country has been relying heavily on its oil and gas resources for revenue and economic development for several decades. However, with the increasing concern for the depletion of non-renewable resources, many are wondering how long Brunei's oil will last.

Brunei's oil industry began in the early 20th century when the first commercial oil well was drilled in 1929 by the British Malayan Petroleum Company (now known as Shell). In the following years, Brunei's oil production increased steadily, and the country became one of the largest oil exporters in Southeast Asia.

In the 1970s, Brunei's oil industry experienced a significant boost with the discovery of several large offshore oil fields. The country's oil production peaked at 240,000 barrels per day in 2006, and oil revenues accounted for more than 90% of the country's export earnings.

However, in recent years, Brunei's oil production has been declining due to the maturing of existing oil fields and limited exploration and development activities. In 2020, Brunei's oil production averaged 103,000 barrels per day, down from 118,000 barrels per day in 2010 and 204,000 barrels per day in 2000.

According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, Brunei's proven oil reserves were estimated at 1.1 billion barrels at the end of 2000, which increased to 1.3 billion barrels at the end of 2020. The country's proven gas reserves were estimated at 16.8 trillion cubic feet at the end of 2020.

From a historical perspective, Brunei's oil industry has played a significant role in the country's economic development. Oil revenues have funded the country's infrastructure, education, and healthcare sectors, among others. However, as the world shifts towards renewable energy sources, Brunei faces the challenge of diversifying its economy and reducing its dependence on oil and gas resources.

Given the declining production and limited exploration and development activities, it is difficult to estimate how long Brunei's oil will last. However, some experts predict that Brunei's oil reserves may last for another 20 to 25 years at the current production rate. This estimate, however, is subject to a number of factors, such as the discovery of new oil fields, technological advancements in oil exploration and production, and changes in global oil prices.

Brunei is also making efforts to diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on oil and gas resources. The government has launched several initiatives to promote non-oil sectors, such as tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing. Brunei's Vision 2035, a long-term development plan, aims to transform the country into a diversified and sustainable economy, less dependent on oil and gas.

The government's efforts to diversify the economy and reduce reliance on oil and gas resources are commendable, and it remains to be seen how successful these efforts will be in the long run.


U.S. Energy Information Administration. "Brunei." EIA, 2021,

BP. "Statistical Review of World Energy 2021." BP, 2021,

Government of Brunei Darussalam. "Wawasan Brunei 2035." Prime Minister's Office,

"Brunei." Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2021,


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