The estimation of reserves is not based on a universally accepted standard method involving science and technology. In addition, the terms reserves, resources, deposits, and accumulations are often used interchangeably.

The reserves depend on the recovery efficiency and the availability of sustainable production capacity. The estimation of reserves also involves geological and engineering judgment affected by bias by companies and governments alike. Moreover, commercial reserves – the "real" reserves – will be produced with a reasonable degree of certitude, but technical reserves – the "paper" reserves – will not.

In the context of global economic security and survival, we are only interested in "real" reserves, not in the "paper" reserves claimed by companies and governments.

In the post-Cold War era, new industry standards need to be adopted worldwide and implemented by multilateral institutions upon which their assistance is contingent.

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