Top Oil Producing Countries |Top 10 Oil Producing Countries: 2018 Insights

Despite the rising solar power output from world’s top solar energy producing countries, global oil production continues to be dominated by the world’s top oil producing countries in 2018 — led by the USA, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China and Canada —and their leadership in the global oil industry is expected to remain strong in the near future. According to the latest oil industry studies released by BP,  global oil production totaled 92.65 million barrels per day (b/d) or a total 4,387 million tonnes in 2017, increasing marginally 0.7% from previous year, which was also one of the lowest production growth rates since 2013. However, the top oil producing countries are expected to continue dominating the global market going forward, even facing great competition from new factors.


Driven by some of the largest oil producing countries in these regions, oil production in North America and Africa witnessed the biggest increase in 2017, rising by 820,000 b/d and 390,000 b/d respectively. After the biggest increase in 2016, oil production in the Middle East fell by 250,000 b/d from the previous year, but Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia – the largest oil producing countries in the Middle East – still contributed the largest shares in the region’s oil production in 2017. Moreover, South & Central America, Africa, and the Asia Pacific all had declines in their oil production, falling by 1.5 million b/d, with the largest declines in China (-310,000 b/d) and Nigeria (-280,000 b/d).


Top 10 Oil Producing Countries in the World 2018


Country  Production
USA 15.6
Saudi Arabia 12.1
Russia 11.2
Canada 5.0
China 4.8
Iran 4.7
Iraq 4.5
UAE 3.7
Brazil 3.4
Kuwait 2.9

*2017 production in million barrels per day

Source: US Energy Information Administration (EIA)


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Who are the Largest Oil Producing Countries?


1. USA

Leading the way in global oil production in 2017 was the USA, which represented about 13.4% of the world’s total oil output. In the coming years, EIA predicts that crude oil production in the USA is expected to be more than 10 million barrels per day (b/d) early in 2018, reaching that milestone for the first time since 1970, and to continue to surge into 2019 to a record high. EIA projects that U.S. crude oil production will average 10.8 million b/d in 2018, up from 9.4 million b/d in 2017, and will average 11.8 million b/d in 2019. The USA remains arguably the most influential among this list of the top oil producing countries in the world.


Meanwhile, the USA oil demand increased by 150,000 b/d in 2017, slightly lower than previous expectations. EIA increased its demand estimates for 2018 to 470,000 b/d from 410,000 b/d. Oil consumption in the USA is expected to climb an additional 340,000 b/d in 2019 to 20.65 million b/d, according to EIA.


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2. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia — one of the top oil producing countries in the world. Saudi Arabia possesses 260 billion barrels of oil reserves, accounting for around 22% of the world’s proven petroleum reserves and ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum. The oil and gas sector in Saudi Arabia accounts for about 50% of the country GDP, and about 85% of export earnings.


3. Russia

Russia has the eighth largest oil reserves in the world, it is also one of the top oil exporting countries in the world. In 2016, Russia exported more than 5.2 million barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil and condensate and more than 2.4 million b/d of petroleum products, mostly to countries in Europe. Exports of crude oil and petroleum products represented nearly 70% of total Russian petroleum liquids production in 2017.


4. Canada

Canada Leapfrogged China in 2017 to become the world’s third-largest oil producing countries. It boosted its annual oil production to nearly 5 million b/d in 2017 from 2016’s 4.6 million b/d. Currently, Canada’s main sources of oil production are the oil sands located in Alberta, the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin and Atlantic offshore fields. According to the EIA, Canada’s oil production could grow by 1.26 million b/d by 2040. This increase is expected to come primarily from oil sands production, which is one of the costliest ways to extract crude.


5. China

China, as one of the world’s largest oil markets in terms of oil production and also one of the top oil consuming countries in the world, has steadily increased its oil production over the last several decades. Currently, China is one of the leaders in the world top oil producing countries and represents around 4.7% of the global oil output. With its huge population and booming economy, the energy demand still remains high. China’s oil reserves are modest, at 20.35 billion barrels, but with the implementation of hydraulic fracturing and other technology, the country’s oil production is likely to grow further in the near future — making the nation maintain its powerhouse status in the future among the top oil producing countries in the world.


6. Iran

Iran is one of the largest oil producing counties in the Middle East and second-largest oil exporter in the group of the organization of petroleum exporting countries. Iran has significantly increased its oil production capacity from 3.5 million b/d in 2004 to over 3.7 million b/d in 2017. The oil production in Iran is one of their major industries that employee majority of Iranian. The total revenue generated from oil production in Iran is over 60% of the total government revenues.


7. Iraq

Iraq has the world’s fifth largest petroleum reserve and it is currently world’s 7th largest petroleum producing nation. Iraq’s economy is majorly depended on its oil production and imports. More than 90% of the energy generated in the country is from petroleum products. Also, over two thrid of Iraq’s GDP is directly depended on oil production and its imports.


8. UAE

The UAE has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. The UAE government has announced that they’ll increase the production of their oil to 5 million b/d in coming years. The major oil reserves in the UAE are in the regions of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah.


9. Brazil

Brazil is the largest producer of crude oil in the whole South American region. The production of oil in Brazil has increased by over 5% year over year. With the rising demand in the international market, the Brazilian government has now increased the imports of oil.


10. Kuwait

Kuwait’s oil production currently stands out at 2.9 million b/d, and with the growing competition in the Middle East, Kuwait is expected to increase its production by 6 million b/d in coming years. The petroleum industry in Kuwait is the largest industry in the country accounting for over half of its GDP. Kuwait oil reserves are 4th largest in the world with 9.5% of the global reserve.


Read more: Top Oil and Gas Consuming Countries in 2018

Future of the Top Oil Producing Countries in the World


Despite these fast-growing trends, this has come with many rival sectors such as renewable energy and electric vehicles. Oil still remains the world’s leading fuel by far, accounting for a third of global energy consumption. Oil gained global market share for the second year in a row, following 15 years of declines from 1999 to 2014. BP reports that the global oil consumption growth averaged 1.8% or an equivalent of 1.7 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2017, above its 10-year average of 1.2% for the third consecutive year. China (500,000 b/d) and the US (190,000 b/d) were the single largest contributors to growth. Due to the strong domestic demand, ample oil reserves, as well as the primary oil export requirement, the top 10 largest oil producing countries in the world are expected to remain unchanged in the near future, with the USA, Saudi Arabia, and Russia in an absolute dominance.


*Edit: Updated to reflect most up-to-date 2018 numbers.



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