For decades, Saudi Arabia has been the biggest producer of oil in the world, with Russia taking a hold of that title just this year. For proven oil reserves, however, Venezuela takes the top spot. Here is a ranking of the world’s 11 most oil-rich countries as listed by World Atlas:
Proven oil reserves are those that have a reasonable certainty of being recoverable under existing economic and political conditions, with existing technology.
The volatility in oil prices over the past decade has created plenty of concern for businesspeople, national governments, and global policy makers alike. With such uncertainty in pricing, coupled with environmental concerns as our world’s appetite for fossil fuels grows, the questions of whether there are enough petroleum oil reserves to satisfy demand, and what the consequences of its extraction will be, have never been more pertinent. In order to shed more light into a somewhat ambiguous subject, we have profiled the ten countries with the largest oil reserves in the world to help put their positions within the energy landscape into perspective. The volatility in oil prices over the past decade has created plenty of concern for governments and policy makers at the global stage. This lack of certainty, coupled with environmental concerns as the world grows ever more energy hungry, the question of whether there are enough petroleum oil reserves to satisfy the demand and what the consequences will be has never been more pertinent. In a bid to shed more light in this somewhat nebulous sector, we have profiled countries with the highest oil reserves in the world. These are the countries whose proven oil reserves are in the top 10 globally.
- United States – 36.52 Billion Barrels
U.S. oil reserves soared to new heights in recent years due to increased usage of unconventional drilling methods that enable extraction of more shale oil and gas than was previously possible. As a result of these, especially fracking and horizontal drilling, U.S. reserves surpassed 36 billion barrels in 2012 for the first time since 1975. Still, proven U.S. oil reserves are but a fraction of the reserves of the global petroleum leaders such as Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Canada.
- Nigeria – 37.07 Billion Barrels
Although Libya has more reserves, there were 37.2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves in Nigeria, ranking the country as the largest oil producer in Africa and the 10th largest in the world. At current rates this would be 45 years of supply if no new oil was found. Pipeline vandalism, kidnappings, and militant takeover of oil facilities have reduced production. The Oil industry accounts for about 14% of Nigeria’s economy.
- Libya – 48.36 Billion Barrels
Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa, and the tenth largest globally. It has the potential to have a greater reserve of fossil fuel than we currently know of, as it remains largely unexplored as a result of past sanctions against foreign oil companies. Libyan oil accounted for 98% of government revenue in 2012 but, due to recent political instability, Libya’s power as an oil producer has been significantly hampered. Eventually it is expected that untapped oil reserves will foster more economic investment as the political situation stabilizes.
- United Arab Emirates – 97.8 Billion Barrels
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) sources most of its oil from the Zakum field, which has an estimated 66 billion barrels, making it the third largest oil field in the region, behind only Ghawar Field (Saudi Arabia) and Burgan Field (Kuwait. Roughly 40 per cent of the country’s GDP is based on oil and gas output and, since its discovery there in 1958, has enabled the UAE to become a modern state with a high standard of living.
- Russia – 103.2 Billion Barrels
#6 Russia – 103.2 Billion Barrels – The World’s Largest Oil Reserves By Country
Russia is a country filled with natural resources for energy use, most notably the country’s massive oil reserves under the vast Siberian plains. Russian oil output fell considerably after the collapse of the former Soviet Union, but the country has revamped production in the past few years. The nation may further boost its reserves of oil and gas in the future as exploration continues beneath its holdings of arctic waters and ice.
- Kuwait – 104 Billion Barrels
To be such a small country in terms of land area, Kuwait holds more than a fair share of the world’s petroleum oil reserves. Over 5 bbl of reserves lie within the Saudi-Kuwaiti neutral zone which Kuwait shares with Saudi Arabia, while over 70 billion barrels of Kuwaiti oil are in the Burgan field, the second largest oil field in the world.
See the full list HERE.