Oil is synonymous with wealth, but only when it is well managed. The top 10 richest oil countries in the world do not necessarily mean the countries with the highest amount of oil wealth below the ground; the list is in fact talking about the countries that have generated the most wealth from their sale of oil products, regardless of whether they have achieved any development from this sale.
Oil continues to be an important commodity, with very high demand. Prices are usually fixed daily, and so the yardstick is production; the highest earners being those countries that can produce the highest amount of oil on a daily basis. Around 95 million barrels of oil per day were pumped globally in the past year, and this has translated into billions for the countries on this list.
Top 10 Richest Oil Countries in the World
1. United States
Output: 17 million barrels per day
The United States has gradually been increasing its importance in the global oil market; and has become the richest oil country in the world, both by virtue of the daily oil output it generates and also by virtue of the overall wealth in the country.
This amount of oil is not a joke, and even Saudi Arabia, which occupies the second position, is about 3 million barrels behind the US. And for those who have always assumed the Arab countries are the richest in terms of oil, they are not. Truly the Arab oil countries are very rich, but the United States ranks as the first.
Interestingly, the United States has been at odds with OPEC countries over production limits which have a marked effect on the prices at which the commodity is sold, and also on the profits available to the countries involved. A political undertone has been given to the recent surge in U.S oil production; although the U.S has maintained a purely economical stance.
Whatever the case may be, the U.S has earned its say in the global oil market; it has an 18% share in the global oil market.
2. Saudi Arabia
Output: 11.8 million barrels per day
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has for a long time been the top oil producer and the de facto leader of OPEC. It has now relinquished the top producer status, but still maintains control of OPEC. With about 11.8 million barrels of crude oil produced every day, Saudi Arabia is the second richest oil country in the world. That position does not come lightly; Saudi Arabia has done well to develop itself as far as infrastructure is concerned and also has a sovereign wealth fund with more than USD200 billion in diversified investments.
The Saudi Vision 2030 is an ambitious investment drive that is aimed at properly diversifying the Saudi economy, removing the dependence on oil, and making the country a hub of technology, sports, and many more.
Output: 11.5 million barrels per day
Russia is an important player in the oil and energy markets, hands-down one of the most popular countries and a world superpower. The country produces around 11.5 million barrels of oil per day, amounting to about 12% of the world’s oil supply. Russia has maintained a conservative outlook about the oil market and prefers to deal alone. Yes, despite playing an important role in determining oil prices, Russia is not a member of OPEC with who it is often at loggerheads. Most of Russia’s oil is sent to China, the Netherlands, and Germany.
Aside from oil, Russia is also a very important country in other forms of energy such as Natural Gas, and Gazprom is Europe’s biggest distributor of the commodity, and also the biggest corporation in the world.
Output: 5.6 million barrels per day
It is hard to imagine the worlds’ oil market without the involvement of Canada. This country produces about 5.6 million barrels of oil per day and is very important in the production and distribution of crude oil in the world. Most of Canada’s oil is produced in one part of the country- Alberta.
Interestingly too, the country is not overly reliant on oil for its revenue generation; the country has done a great job in diversifying its economy to include such sectors as technology, agriculture, finance, and services. Therefore, Canada is not just one of the richest oil countries in the world, it is one of the most fiscally balanced oil countries as well.
Output: 4.8 million barrels per day
Iraq has always been an important oil country; this productivity was only briefly halted by wars. Iraq currently pumps out about 4.8 million barrels of oil per day, making it the fifth-largest oil country in the world.
Iraq is still not close to its full potential: the country is still lacking the infrastructure to fully harness its vast oil deposits because of social unrest, and a lack of international relations. Iraq is still under many sanctions and embargoes.
6. United Arab Emirates
Output: 4 million barrels per day
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the richest oil countries, and one of the most ambitious nations. The country has a daily output of about 4 million barrels per day and has a long-standing position of influence in the oil-selling community. Furthermore, the UAE has amassed an oil fortune of several billion dollars- one of the largest Sovereign Wealth Funds in the world.
The UAE’s state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has control of the country’s oil reserves and regularly collaborates with foreign private partners in joint ventures that include, prospecting, development, exploitation, and refining of oil products.
Output: 3.8 million barrels per day
China is not usually mentioned among the world’s top oil producers, but the country has been steadily improving its oil production capacity in recent times and has recently grown to a daily output of more than 3.8 million barrels per day. Therefore, China is one of the richest oil countries; it has a 4% share of the global oil market.
Chinese oil interests are dominated by large, state-owned companies such as China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Sinopec, and China National Petroleum Corporation. China has now taken its oil interests outside the country by investing in oil fields in Africa, and other places. This move is strategic because China is the second-largest oil consumer after the U.S.
Output: 3.5 million barrels per day
Iran is one controversial country that continues to be important in the oil market due to strategic partnerships. Iran is one of the richest oil producers with a daily output of around 3.5 million barrels per day. Iran has around 3.7% of the world’s oil production and continues to play an influential role in OPEC activities.
Iran can do much better than this- the major problem is that international relations are not in favor of Iran. There are too many economic sanctions and embargoes that are placed on the country’s oil products. Iran continues to be involved in international tensions fueled by suspicions of nuclear armament.
Output: 3 million barrels per day
Kuwait has recently been the victim of Allied military action but has still managed to have a daily output of about 3 million barrels per day. Kuwait is neighbors with countries like Saudi Arabia and Iraq, but has not always managed to maintain friendly relations with its neighbors, hence the military action.
Kuwait is one of the largest oil producers; the country has about 3% of the world’s oil market. Kuwait’s oil production is controlled by the state-owned Kuwait Oil Company, and the country has a huge Sovereign Wealth Fund from money earned from oil sales.
Output: 2.9 million barrels per day
Brazil is often overshadowed by Venezuela when oil production is discussed, but this country has steadily been improving its oil output and its economy in general. Brazil now produces 2.9 million barrels of oil per day, which is about 3% of global production.
Brazil has a mixture of state-owned and private oil exploration companies, and they have done a good job of discovering fresh oil fields and increasing the production capacity of existing ones. Brazil is now one of the richest oil countries in the world, and one of the most advanced economies of Latin America.
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As we mentioned in the opening part of this article, oil remains an important commodity today, but demand may soon wane as more effective technology continues to come out, and clean alternatives become commercially viable. The more proactive of the countries on this list have already taken steps to diversify their economies, and some have even taken leading roles in the discovery of said technologies, so as to position themselves in order to take advantage of the coming energy revolution.
We wouldn’t be surprised if there are people who find this list of the richest oil countries in the world to be quite unbelievable, but it’s very accurate. It’s natural to think some countries which aren’t on this list would be on this list. But thinking about something doesn’t make it the reality.
It is also important to state that it isn’t impossible for this list to change, in the next few years.