(OILPRICE) — Has OPEC misled us about the size of its oil reserves? The short answer is probably. The long answer is that currently, there is no way to know for sure.
The next question we should ask is: Does it matter? The answer is most definitely yes. OPEC, short for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, currently claims that its 12 members hold 81.3% of the world's oil reserves. And, with few exceptions the world believes them.
Trouble is these reserves "are not verified by independent auditors," according to a study (PDF) done by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the nonpartisan investigative arm of the U.S. Congress. OPEC reserves are simply self-reported by each country. Essentially, OPEC's members are asking us to take their word for it. But should we?
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