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Is Saudi Arabia the Largest Oil Producer in the World?

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Is Saudi Arabia the Largest Oil Producer in the World?

World Oil Poduction as per 2018
Map of World depicting oil production in the year 2018

Oil continues to remain the most in-demand commodity in the world, with demand and prices both climbing steadily since 2016. While demand for oil gets affected by access to other sources of energy such as hydropower, electricity, nuclear, solar and wind, its supply is carefully monitored through the pace of oil extraction.

In fact, oil began to play an increasingly important role in the world economy in the middle of the 20th-century. Realizing its importance, in 1960, five oil producing countries- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, and Venezuela joined together to establish an intergovernmental organization-Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)- with the stated objective of stabilizing international oil production and prices. Many other countries joined the bloc later. As per OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin 2019, 79.4% of the world’s proven oil reserves are located in OPEC Member Countries, with the bulk of OPEC oil reserves in the Middle East, amounting to 64.5% of the OPEC total.

In 2008, OPEC Member Saudi Arabia was the largest producer of petroleum in the world, followed by Russia and the United States (US), with the production in the US being almost 50% less than the production in Saudi Arabia.

Though production continued to increase in all the three countries, Saudi Arabia maintained its lead until 2016. In 2017, there was only marginal difference in the figures of petroleum production for these three countries. However, in 2018, riding on the back of a 17% growth in production, the US surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of petroleum. Moreover, the US continues to be one of the greatest consumers of oil in the world.

While non-OPEC countries such as the US and Russia are free to decide their oil production levels, OPEC countries such as Saudi Arabia must abide by the OPEC production targets. So, it is pertinent to note that in December 2018, an agreement was reached by the OPEC Member Countries to extend production cuts. In September 2019, two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia were the target of drone attacks, which significantly curtailed its daily oil output. These factors, as well as any escalation of tensions in the Middle East, are likely to influence oil supply and prices around the globe in the years to come.

World Oil Production (OPEC) 2018

Rank Country Petroleum Production (1000 bbl/day)
1 Saudi Arabia 12419
2 Iran 4616
3 Iraq 4468
I United Arab Emirates 3791
5 Kuwait 2870
6 Nigeria 2057
7 Qatar* 1943
8 Angola 1655
9 Algeria 1577
10 Venezuela 1527
11 Libya 1074
12 Ecuador 517
13 Congo (Brazzaville) 347
14 Gabon 195
15 Equatorial Guinea 184

World Oil Production (Non-OPEC) 2018

Rank Country Petroleum Production (1000 bbl/day)
1 United States 17914
2 Russia 11401
3 Canada 5328
I China 4810
5 Brazil 3428
6 Mexico 2084
7 Kazakhstan 1959
8 Norway 1864
9 United Kingdom 1163
10 India 1018
11 Oman 988
12 Indonesia 914
13 Colombia 890
14 Azerbaijan 808
15 Malaysia 750
16 Argentina 679
17 Egypt 668
18 Thailand 517
19 Australia 370
20 Turkmenistan 280
21 Vietnam 254
22 Germany 205
23 Ghana 174
24 Italy 157
25 Peru 141
26 Chad 132
27 Japan 127
28 South Sudan 126
29 Denmark 121
30 France 121
31 South Korea 115
32 Brunei 112
33 South Africa 110
34 Sudan 98
35 Pakistan 92
36 Romania 88
37 Trinidad & Tobago 88
38 Bolivia 78
39 Turkey 73
40 Netherlands 70
41 Cameroon 69
42 Spain 68
43 Yemen 61
44 Ukraine 56
45 Uzbekistan 55
46 Poland 55
47 Bahrain 55
48 Cote dIvoire (IvoryCoast) 53
49 Cuba 50
50 Papua New Guinea 45
51 Tunisia 41
52 Singapore 38
53 Hungary 37
54 New Zealand 34
55 East Timor 33
56 Belarus 31
57 Taiwan 30
58 Belgium 29
59 Austria 28
60 Syria 28
61 Philippines 27
62 Serbia 20
63 Mongolia 20
64 Czech Republic 20
65 Croatia 19
66 Finland 18
67 Congo (Kinshasa) 17
68 Chile 16
69 Suriname 16
70 Estonia 16
71 Albania 16
72 Greece 15
73 Slovakia 15
74 Sweden 14
75 Guatemala 14
76 Portugal 13
77 Myanmar 12
78 Niger 9.5
79 Lithuania 9.3
80 Israel 6.4
81 Bulgaria 5.3
82 Paraguay 4.2
83 Mauritania 4
84 Bangladesh 3.1
85 Switzerland 2.3
86 Uruguay 2.2
87 Belize 2
88 Costa Rica 1.6
89 Latvia 1.4
90 Barbados 1
91 Kyrgyzstan 1
92 Netherlands Antilles 0.9
93 Kenya 0.8
94 Zimbabwe 0.8
95 Swaziland 0.8
96 Jamaica 0.7
97 Mauritius 0.5
98 Panama 0.4
99 Ireland 0.4
100 Jordan 0.4
101 Georgia 0.4
102 Ethiopia 0.4
103 Mozambique 0.4
104 Slovenia 0.3
105 Bosnia and Herzegovina 0.2
106 Macedonia 0.2
107 Malawi 0.2
108 Tajikistan 0.2
109 Zambia 0.2
110 Morocco 0.2
111 North Korea 0.1
112 Hong Kong 0.1

Source: US Energy Information Administration

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