BP has bought into Eni’s Egyptian field Zohr. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
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Reserve life – the number of years that a company can keep production stable with its reserves – has decreased for ExxonMobil, Shell, Total and Statoil, according to the Reuters analysis of the firms' annual reports.In the case of Exxon, the world's top publicly listed oil company, reserve life dropped in 2016 to 13 years, the lowest since 1997, after it wrote down Canadian oil sands. Rohan Murphy, energy analyst at Allianz Global Investors, which holds shares in Shell, BP, Total and Statoil, sees a reserve life of eight to 10 years as "quite a healthy level".Over the past decade, the world has changed so much that Saudi Arabia now plans to list its national champion Saudi Aramco in what is widely seen by the market as an attempt to cash in on the country's huge reserves before demand peaks.Oil companies are required to report their reserves every year based on an annual average oil price.
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