Crude oil is the world’s main source of fuel and largest overall source of primary energy. In 2020, the world used approximately 88.6 million barrels per day of oil, which amounted to 30.1% of the world's primary energy. Crude oil creates gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, asphalt, tar, and lubrication oils. "Oil reserves" is an estimate of the amount of not-yet-mined crude oil located in a particular country that can be recovered with current technology and at a cost that is financially feasible in relation to the current price of oil.
The United States is the world's foremost producer of oil, as well as the world's largest consumer of oil, which makes it necessary for the U.S. to import additional oil from dozens of other oil-producing countries. Despite its world-leading oil production, the United States is only 9th in the world in terms of available oil reserves:
Top 10 Countries with the Largest Oil Reserves (in thousand million barrels):
|Rank||Country||Reserves||% of World Total|
|8||United Arab Emirates||97.8||5.6%|
How the accessibility of oil reserves impacts profitability
Venezuela has the largest amount of oil reserves in the world with more than 300 billion barrels in reserve. Saudi Arabia has the second-largest amount of oil reserves in the world with 297.5 billion barrels. Despite Venezuela’s massive supply of natural resources, the country still struggles economically. Venezuela and Saudi Arabia have populations of comparable size; however, Saudi Arabia’s economy is twice as large. One of the main reasons for this disparity is the accessibility of each country's oil reserves.
Although Venezuela has the most oil reserves in the world, most of its oil is offshore or far underground and is considered to be dense. As such, the cost of extracting the oil in Venezuela’s reserves using the technology currently available is too high to be profitable. Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves, on the other hand, are close to the surface and on land, which makes the oil much more accessible and the extraction process vastly more cost-effective. This, in turn, makes Saudi Arabia's oil sector significantly more profitable.