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While crude, natural gas and NGL proved reserves all increased more than production, the improvement was uneven. Crude increased the least, but still added a respectable 2 billion bbl of proved reserves. This beat production-which was last done four years ago-by more than 300 million bbl. The result was 21.3 billion bbl of proved reserves at the end of 2007, or about 2% more than the previous year. (Since it takes about a year to gather and analyze the reserves data, 2007 is the last year in which such data is available.)
This increase is rather lackluster with regard to prices, which soared in 2004 through 2007, and should have resulted in substantial reserves increases, assuming prices add to recovery factors by shifting the economic threshold. Looking over the past few years, prices have indeed stayed otherwise relentless production decline, sometimes resulting in production increases, and presumably raising recovery factors. The answer probably lies in the success of deepwater exploration,
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