Commercial oil production, which began in 1929, dominates the economy. Production of crude oil in 2000 amounted to 173,000 barrels per day; output of liquefied natural gas (LNG) was about 22,000 barrels per day. As of 2002, exports of crude oil and natural gas accounted for 80% to 90% of all exports and more than 50% of gross domestic product (GDP). Exploratory drilling for new reserves continues, and capital expenditure on petroleum development remains high. As of early 2002, proven reserves of oil totaled 200 million tons (1.3 billion barrels); at the current rate of extraction, known oil reserves will have been depleted by 2017. After peaking at 240,000 barrels per day in 1979, crude oil production was deliberately lowered in 1988, through a self-imposed conservation quota of 150,000 barrels of oil per day, to extend the life of Brunei's reserves. There are seven offshore fields belonging to Brunei, of which the largest is the Champion field, with about 40% of the country's total reserves. Brunei opened its first deepwater drilling areas in 2001 and accepted bids by two international consortia. There are plans to expand LNG production by 4 million metric tons by 2008. Brunei continues to be a major supplier of liquefied national gas to Japan under 20-year contracts, the last renewed in 1993 by the then-newly established Brunei Oil and Gas Authority. The LNG plant at Lumut, Brunei is one of the largest in the world.
Electric power and natural gas supplies are readily available at low cost. Total installed capacity in 2001 was 763,000 kW, all of it in conventional thermal plants. In 2000, net electricity generation was 2.4 billion kWh, of which 100% came from fossil fuels. In the same year, consumption of electricity totaled 2.1 billion kWh.