Oil is a priceless natural resource that powers economies and influences geopolitics around the world. As the global demand for energy grows, oil extraction and shipping are crucial to the security and development of virtually every nation in the world today.
Oil is a significant and adaptable substance that can be used in a variety of ways. Globally, the major user of oil is the transportation industry with more than a third of the world’s oil demand arising from this sector.
With this in mind, it is logical to assume that the largest oil-producing countries are rich and prosperous. But is that really the case? At least four of the 10 biggest oil producers are still developing countries. Let’s learn more about the situation in our article.
The impact of oil production on developing countries
The energy demands of many developing countries are largely satisfied by oil imports with these nations frequently relying on the top oil-producing nations to satisfy their energy needs.
Moreover, oil price fluctuations can have a direct effect on the economics of emerging nations, being able to reduce foreign direct investment (FDI). Investments in oil-related initiatives can be deterred by market uncertainty thus limiting the opportunity for economic growth and development. In addition, fluctuating oil prices can lead to increased income inequality in developing nations.
The foreign aid provided by major oil-producing countries aims to reduce poverty, improve healthcare, advance education, and promote sustainable development in developing nations. This aid can take many different forms, including grants, loans, or capacity-building programs.
For instance, one of the top 10 major oil producers, the UAE, covers programs in the fields of healthcare, education, sustainable energy, and water security through its Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives. The UAE has also been crucial in aiding refugees and people who have been forcibly displaced by offering aid and assistance.
The United States – the world’s largest oil producer – conducts extensive development programs across all industries and areas as the largest donor of official development assistance (ODA) worldwide. One of the latest initiatives involved giving the citizens of Haiti $53.7 million of emergency assistance via the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Unsettling levels of insecurity, such as gang violence, assaults, and looting, remain prevalent in Haiti and have made the country more vulnerable to food insecurity as well as safety needs while also making it difficult to provide vital humanitarian aid.
Top 10 biggest oil producers
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that in 2023, the average global production of oil will be 101.3 million barrels per day (b/d), while consumption will be 101.5 million b/d.
The United States has become the leading global oil producer in the modern oil environment, holding the top spot followed by Saudi Arabia and Russia. Iran, Kuwait, and Iraq all rank highly in the top 10 oil-producing countries. Notably, in these three nations the presence of numerous supergiant oil fields, which are part of the Arabian-Iranian basin, further strengthens their position in the world oil market. Other large oil-producing countries include China, Canada and Brazil.
However, it is important not to be confused by the status of oil producer and oil exporter because, in the case of some producers, they are not the biggest exporters of oil.
Let’s dive deeper into the list of the largest oil-producing nations.
Oil producers by country in 2022
*The term “oil” in the table includes crude oil, biofuels, as well as other petroleum liquids.
The United States of America
With regards to oil production, the U.S. has held the top spot since 2018. According to the EIA, as of May 2023, the US generated 20.21 million barrels daily, or nearly 8 million more than Saudi Arabia, which came in at second place, and almost 10 million more than Russia.
The U.S. has seen a growth in oil production thanks to technological developments such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. This growth has improved the country’s energy security, boosted the economy, and altered the dynamics of the world oil market.
The top three biggest crude oil reserves are located in Texas, North Dakota, and the Gulf of Mexico.
Saudi Arabia follows the U.S. with a remarkable output of 12.14 million b/d. The nation’s role in the world energy sector is further supported by the fact that it boasts Moreover, the nation is home to approximately 17% of the world’s proven petroleum reserves, the second-largest held.
The discovery of the Al-Ghawar field propelled Saudi Arabia to prominence as an oil producer. It alone enables Saudi Arabia to generate about 5.5 billion b/d.
It is believed that Russia has the greatest potential for new findings. Rich oil deposits, particularly in areas like Western Siberia, help to explain its extraordinary production levels. Modern drilling and extraction procedures used by Russian oil corporations allow them to efficiently access these huge deposits.
In 2023, it is anticipated that Russia, the second-biggest oil exporter globally, will export roughly 6 million b/d. It exports crude oil at a rate that ranks second behind Saudi Arabia. Despite the Western sanctions imposed on Russia after Vladimir Putin unleashed a full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine, the country’s oil exports have recovered to the levels seen before its invasion of Ukraine. To replace European consumers, it has apparently discovered buyers in China and India.
Due to their massive oil reserves and impressive production capabilities, the major oil-producing countries have a considerable impact on international development. Oil is essential to support economic expansion, sustain industry, and supply the world’s energy needs. A reliance on oil exports, however, also brings difficulties such as environmental concerns and economic volatility linked to changes in oil prices. Oil-related income can either support development and diversification or sustain inequality and political unrest.