Oil is front and center once again. Inflationary pressures are ravaging most nations and one of the key drivers is the price of oil. Much of the oil reserve market rests in the hands of 10 countries, all of whom are playing a critical role as winter approaches in the northern hemisphere.
Rounding out the Top 10 is Nigeria. With approximately 37 billion barrels, Nigeria is Africa’s second largest reserve of oil. Together with gas, oil makes up an impressive 86% of Nigeria’s total export revenue.
- United States
With 47.1 billion barrels, US oil production boomed during the shale oil fracking years. Yet, COVID and regulations have taken their toll and production has waned. Depending on how the crisis shapes up in eastern Europe coupled with political changes, the US could begin pumping and/or fracking again quite soon.
Coming in at number 8 is another African country – Libya. Home to the largest proven oil reserve in Africa, Libya has also been ravished by a persistent civil war. In fact, the country’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) estimated losses in the neighborhood of $5 billion in 2020 due to the conflict.
A country that has been in the news cycle as of late, Russia is an important ally of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and sits on nearly 80 billion barrels of reserves. Europe awaits news surrounding anticipated Russian exports to the region as winter approaches.
- United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates. The most notable of the seven are Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Collectively they control 98 billion barrels of reserves. Abu Dhabi is home to the majority of the UAE’s reserves and the territory as a whole represents a 5.6% share of the global reserves total.
Kuwait, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia announced earlier this year they would collectively cut output. This is expected to fend off the global oil storage capacity from being fully exhausted. Sitting on just over 100 billion barrels of storage, Kuwait represents a 5.9% share of the global total.
Iraq is positioned prominently in the Top 5 reserve nations but the Covid pandemic resulted in the halving of crude oil revenues in April. This is deeply problematic for a country that depends on the sale of oil to run most parts of the economy. Government officials are exploring unpopular austerity measures such as cuts to social benefits to right the ship.
Sanctions and Covid have hit Iran’s oil sector hard. With 145 billion barrels and 8.4% of the global share, Iran is still a formidable producer and trader but dwindling compared to its upper echelon peers. In January estimates pointed to an export drop of roughly 85% (0.4 million barrels per day) compared to mid-2018 (2.8 million barrels per day).
- Saudi Arabia
Before the emergence of Venezuela Saudi Arabia held the world’s biggest proven oil reserves for decades. Estimates range in the 267 billion barrels range which amounts to 17.2% of the global total. The state energy giant Saudi Aramco is understandably one of the world’s most valuable companies.
Coming in at number one is none other than Venezuela. The South American powerhouse surpassed Saudi Arabia in 2011, and with just over 300 billion barrels it appears poised to remain in the top spot for the coming years. Persistent political crises have hampered growth and investment, however. *According to OPEC, Canada counts on just 4.4 billion barrels, but if their oil sands reserves are considered, Canada’s reserves would be approximately 170.9 billion barrels.
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