Oil, also commonly referred to as petroleum, is one of the top money-making commodities in the world today. Required for the production of gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and many other products, oil is one of the most fundamental and vital resources in the modern world. The production of oil is a process that only stops if there is no more oil to extract. Oil extraction is a double-edged sword, as the process of extracting, refining, and burning fossil fuels such as oil is proven to be harmful to the environment. The United States is the world's largest consumer of oil, as well as the world's largest producer of oil, although several countries have larger oil reserves then the U.S. Despite its world-leading production, the U.S. also imports oil from dozens of other countries.
Roughly half of the world's countries produce oil in some capacity. Oil production is measured in barrels per day or BPD. Most oil producing countries produce thousands, even millions of barrels per day, with their total output often limited by market forces rather than by production capability. For instance, gas prices rose sharply in response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, but oil companies in the U.S. chose to take the increased per-gallon profits rather than increase production (which would increase supply and lower per-gallon prices).
Top 10 Oil-Producing Countries (barrels per day):
|Country||Monthly Production||Reference Month|
|United Arab Emirates||2,954,000||02/2022|
The United States
With a rough estimate of 11,567,000 barrels per day, the United States is the top oil-producing country in the world, as it has been for many years. The US also consumes more oil than any other country worldwide. In addition to being the world's largest oil producer, the United States also imports upwards of 8 million barrels of oil per day.
The world's largest country by land area, Russia is also one of its largest oil producers. Russia supplies both oil and natural gas to many countries, particularly China and Europe. This arrangement caused significant complications when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, triggering many countries in the EU and elsewhere to place an embargo on Russian goods. Many countries, such as Germany, carved out exceptions so they could still import Russian oil and gas, but at the same time sought to establish new trading partners and energy processing capabilities, so as to reduce their reliance on Russian trade.
The world's largest exporter of oil, Saudi Arabia possesses around 15-17% of the world’s petroleum reserves. Like most Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) nations, Saudi Arabia's economy is heavily centered around oil. The oil and gas industry makes up roughly 50% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and 70% of its export earnings. Saudi Arabia also exports natural gas, gold, iron ore, and copper.
China is ranked as the sixth-largest oil-producing country, extracting about 3,838,000 barrels of oil per day. Notably, population size and the total area of a nation have little to do with oil production volumes. More relevant factors are the country's expertise at locating and extracting oil, as well as its political connections and the rules governing where it can and cannot extract oil. For example, most of the oil that China produces is extracted from regions in the Middle Eastern country of Iran, not the Chinese homeland. Over the years, China has watched as its oil production rates have slowly dropped.
The ninth-largest producer of oil is Kuwait. Unlike many oil-producing countries, this Western Asian nation experienced a severe drop in oil production rates between 2016 and 2020. In 2016, Kuwait derived 3,072,000 barrels per day of oil, compared to the rate of 2,753,000 BPD in 2020. This is arguably a poor sign for Kuwait's economy, as oil makes up 60% of its GDP and just over 95% of its export revenue.