Crude oil is the world’s primary source of fuel and also the largest source of primary energy. Global oil consumption in 2020 was estimated to be 88.6 million barrels per day, or 30.1% of global primary energy consumption. Asphalt, tar, diesel, jet fuel, gasoline, and lubricating oils are all made from crude oil. “Oil reserves” refers to the estimated amount of unrecoverable crude oil in a certain nation that can be extracted using modern technology and at a price that makes sense given the current oil price.
The U.S. needs to buy more oil from many other oil-producing nations since it is both the world’s greatest oil user and producer. Even though the United States leads the world in oil production, its total available oil reserves rank ninth.
List of 10 Countries With the Largest Oil Reserves in the World
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
- United States of America
Venezuela possesses the greatest oil reserves in the world, estimated to be more than 300 billion barrels. However, a combination of U.S. sanctions, an ongoing economic crisis, and mismanagement has hindered the nation’s ability to fully capitalize on its oil wealth. The Venezuelan economy was severely damaged by the first oil price drop of the new millennium, following a period of prosperity in the 1990s and early 2000s. The U.S. hit it with sanctions before it could recover, which severely reduced output; in 2022, the average was 600,000 to 700,000 bpd. On average, 600,000 bpd were exported.
2. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia, the largest member of OPEC and the second-largest oil producer in the world, has proven reserves of over 267 billion barrels. Production peaked in 2022 at 11.5 million barrels per day after rising to a little over 9 million in 2021. However, as part of the most recent round of OPEC+ output cutbacks, production was recently reduced by half a million barrels per day. In 2027, the monarchy intends to increase its production capacity from the present 12 million barrels per day to 13 million barrels per day while maintaining strict control over output.
Iran produces about 2.39 million barrels of oil per day and has 208.6 billion barrels of reserves. According to OPEC figures, of this, it only exports slightly more than 760,000 bpd. Undoubtedly, the significant discrepancy in reserves, output, and exports may be attributed to the re-imposed U.S. sanctions on Iran by the previous government. Iran has been exporting more petroleum, exceeding 1.13 million bpd in late 2022 and continuing to rise this year despite the sanctions and the fruitless attempts to lift them. Additionally, there are plans to increase output.
Canada possesses 171 billion barrels of crude oil, the majority of which are bitumen from oil sands; 166.3 billion of the total are oil sands, mostly in Alberta. That represents a tenth of the oil reserves around the globe. Canada had a record-breaking daily average of almost 5 million barrels last year. Remarkably, despite efforts by the federal government to limit the business because of its carbon footprint, output is increasing. But producers continue to pump because of the need for oil.
Iraq, the second-largest producer in OPEC, produces over 4.5 million barrels per day and has proved reserves of about 145 billion barrels. Iraq exports 3.4 million barrels per day on average, but like Kuwait, it has great intentions. Economists predict that Baghdad will not be able to match the output of Saudi Arabia, a larger OPEC member, since production capacity is expected to peak at about 6.3 million barrels per day during the next five years.
6. United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, the third-largest oil producer in OPEC, produces 2.7 million barrels of crude oil per day on average, with an estimated stockpile of 111 billion barrels. Based on data from OPEC, it exports 2.3 million barrels per day. The United Arab Emirates is not only a significant producer of oil and the custodian of some of the world’s largest reserves, but it is also a prime example of an economy that is diversifying away from its primary export goods. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become a sought-after destination for high-end travel and technology due to its huge oil reserves.
Kuwait has proven oil reserves of about 101.5 billion barrels. The small Gulf state produces and exports around 1.7 million barrels of oil per day, ranging from 2.4 million to 2.67 million barrels per day. The government has ambitious intentions for its oil wealth; Kuwait Petroleum Corporation intends to increase the nation’s production capacity to up to 4 million barrels per day by 2030. It is evident that Kuwait is unconcerned about forecasts that indicate the end of oil consumption.
Russia produced around 9.4 million barrels of crude oil per day, excluding condensates, and had proven crude oil reserves of over 80 billion barrels, according to the EIA. Russia was producing more than 11 million barrels per day, including condensates, a few years ago, but a response was taken, including a production cut, in reaction to the invasion of Ukraine and the Western sanctions that followed. However, petroleum and oil exports are back to what they were before the war.
The estimated resource of crude oil in the North African nation is 48.3 billion barrels. However, with an average daily production of only 1.2 million barrels, it is a very small producer. Libya has continuously struggled to maximize its oil resources, mostly due to political instability and power disputes among various factions following the civil war. However, it appears that things could be about to change, as Europe is turning to the North African nation for a more substantial oil supply.
10. United States of America
Estimates of the United States’ crude oil reserves vary across authorities. These are estimated by some at somewhat less than 36 billion barrels by the Energy Information Administration, which also counts condensate reserves differently. According to the World Population Review, the United States has 68.8 billion barrels of reserves total since they combine the counting of crude and condensates. Condensates and crude together total around 74 billion barrels, according to EIA estimates. It is nonetheless the world’s largest producer of crude oil.
How Oil Reservoirs’ Accessibility Affects Profitability?
Having more than 300 billion barrels of oil reserves, Venezuela has the most oil reserves in the world. Saudi Arabia has the second-largest oil reserves globally. Venezuela still faces economic difficulties in spite of its enormous natural resource base. The populations of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela are similar, but Saudi Arabia has a twice-as-huge GDP. The availability of each nation’s oil reserves is one of the primary causes of this discrepancy.
Despite having the largest oil reserves in the world, the majority of Venezuela’s oil is thought to be thick and is located offshore or deep below. As a result, it would not be viable to extract the oil from Venezuela’s reserves using the technologies now in use. Conversely, Saudi Arabia’s oil deposits lie on land and near the surface, making the oil far more accessible and the extraction process much more economical. As a result, the oil industry in Saudi Arabia becomes substantially more profitable.
The 10 economies with the biggest oil reserves also control a significant portion of the world’s energy market, and their oil wealth is essential to both political and economic progress. These countries face many difficulties, even if oil is unquestionably crucial to maintaining economic growth. The efficient use of their oil resources is seriously threatened by political instability, since internal strife and outside influences affect distribution and output. Additionally, environmental issues have become a crucial component of the conversation about the production and use of oil. The environmental effects of oil exploration have sparked concerns about the viability of present methods, especially in areas like Canada’s oil sands.
For these nations to continue navigating the tightrope between satisfying their own economic demands and the expanding need for sustainable energy sources throughout the world, they will need to strategically manage their enormous oil reserves. In addition to influencing their own economies, these countries’ choices on exploration, production, and environmental responsibility will also have a long-term impact on geopolitical dynamics and global energy policy. The trajectory of the global energy landscape will be significantly shaped by the participation of these oil-rich nations as the world moves towards a more sustainable energy future.
Which Country Has the World’s Greatest Proven Oil Reserves?
As of right now, Venezuela is the nation with the biggest known oil reserves. The Orinoco Belt is home to the bulk of these reserves.
What Is the Impact of Political Instability on Nations with Substantial Oil Reserves?
Countries with significant oil reserves may face significant consequences due to political instability. It may make it more difficult to explore, produce, and distribute oil effectively, which would limit the country’s capacity to use its oil fortune for economic growth.
What Part Do Environmental Issues Play in Nations with Abundant Oil Resources?
In nations with abundant oil resources, particularly those that use unconventional extraction techniques like oil sands, environmental issues are becoming more and more important. The effects of extraction operations on the environment make one wonder about sustainability and make one think about more environmentally friendly, alternative energy sources.
What Role Do These Nations Play in International Energy Policy?
Large oil-producing nations frequently have a significant influence on international energy policy. Global energy plans and international energy markets can be impacted by their decisions on production levels, export policies, and environmental laws.
Can Nations with Substantial Oil Reserves Broaden Their Economic Base?
Many oil-rich countries continue to struggle to wean themselves off of their reliance on oil earnings, even if others have been able to diversify their economies. Investing in other industries is a common component of diversification initiatives aimed at establishing a more solid economic base, yet this shift necessitates careful planning and effective resource management.