Who are the world's biggest oil producers?
Discover the world’s top oil-producing countries. Learn more about the oil industry and find out how to get exposure to the commodity with IG.
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Oil industry overview
The oil industry is one of the most watched sectors in the world, partly due to its reputation for high volatility. Like any other financial market, the biggest factor controlling the price of oil is the relationship between supply and demand.
Supply factors that affect the price of oil include production decisions made by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), geopolitical issues and severe weather conditions. OPEC holds regular meetings to set up oil production quotas for member countries, with the aim of regulating the supply of oil and controlling its price. Demand factors include reliance on oil, the price of the US dollar and global economic performance.
The top 10 biggest oil producers supply 72% (see below table of top oil producing countries) of the world’s oil, which is 93.86 million barrels per day. The oil is mainly used in transportation (petrol and diesel), but it also supports the production of certain lubricants, plastics and pharmaceuticals.
The two most popular oil benchmarks in the world are Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate (WTI). The main differences between them relate to their respective extraction locations and compositions, and how they are affected by geopolitical factors.
Top oil-producing countries: global production
|Country||Share of global production1|
Top 10 oil producers in 20221
- United States: 11.56 million bpd
- Russia: 10.50 million bpd
- Saudi Arabia: 10.22 million bpd
- Canada: 4.65 million bpd
- Iraq: 4.26 million bpd
- China: 3.96 million bpd
- United Arab Emirates: 2.95 million bpd
- Brazil: 2.85 million bpd
- Kuwait: 2.61 million bpd
- Iran: 2.54 million bpd
Bpd = the number of barrels per day produced per country as of April 2022.
United States: 11.56 million bpd
The United States, the top oil-producing country in the world since 2017, produces oil in 32 states and in US coastal waters – the majority of which is drilled in Texas (43%). It is also the biggest consumer of oil, using a total of 20.54 million barrels daily.2
In 2020, US oil production was 19.51 million barrels per day (bpd) and decreased to 11.56 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2021. Energy experts say this is largely due to supply and a big fall in demand and gasoline prices as a result of a decline in driving and air travel.
The US Energy Information Administration predicts more than 5% growth in US oil production in 2022.
Russia: 10.50 million bpd
Russia was previously the leading oil producer in the world. Russian oil production now comprises about 11% of global production, exporting an estimated 4.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to countries around the world.3
The country’s main extraction region is in Western Siberia, from the Priobskoye and Smotlor fields. Russia is the fifth largest consumer of oil (3.7 million bpd; 8 December 2021), which accounts for about 4% of the world’s total.
Saudi Arabia: 10.22 million bpd
Prior to the US holding the top spot, Saudi Arabia was the biggest oil producer for a few years. Today Saudi Arabia is the sixth largest consumer of the commodity, using an average of 3.18 million barrels per day. 3
In 2021, Saudi Arabia was knocked from second into third spot by Russia, with a loss of 1.59 million bpd of oil produced on the previous year’s total (11.81 million bpd).
Saudi Arabia’s oil output was slashed by 3.30 million bpd due to lower demand in 2020 and while these declines are concerning – oil production comprises about 42% of its GDP – there is a silver lining. Saudi Arabia plans to increase spending on oil production in 2022 to meet rising global demand, as it reported a doubling of profits in 2021.
Canada: 4.65 million bpd
Canada has occupied fourth spot since 2020 but experienced a drop in production from 5.50 million barrels per day (2020) to 4.65 million bpd in 2021. Production is predicted to increase by more than 120% by 2050 – surpassing the growth rate of all non-OPEC countries.4
Though the drastic increase in production may be expensive, as 96% Canada’s oil comes from oil sands, the country has access to the technology to bring costs down.
Oil consumption in Canada is 5.4 million bpd up from the previous year (just over 2.4 million bpd). Additional plans for the future include expansion to trade agreements, which are expected to be concluded by December 2022.
Iraq: 4.26 million bpd
Iraq holds around 8.4% of the world’s oil reserves or more than 1.45 billion barrels. While the country is only number five on the list of leading oil producers, it is the second largest of the OPEC countries.3
Iraq is also the fifth largest global exporter of the commodity, according to the US Energy Information Agency, the majority of those reserves are already being tapped or developed. Iraq is one of the most oil dependent in the world; the country's crude oil exports generated a revenue of more than 75 billion US dollars in 2021, which is about 85% of government revenue.
China: 3.96 million bpd
As the sixth largest producer of oil in the world and the second largest consumer, China uses 14.01 million barrels per day. This is one of the reasons why the market reacted so drastically to the drop in oil demand (more than half a million bpd) from China in 2020.
Most of China’s domestic oil is extracted from the north-east and north-central region. Overall, oil production in China has steadily dropped (it was 4.89 million bpd in 2020) and (at current production and consumption levels) it has about four years’ worth of proven reserves.
According to recent reports, China’s energy self-sufficiency rate reached more than 80% in 2021.
UAE: 2.95 million bpd
Third on the list of leading OPEC oil producers, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has dropped considerably since 2020 when it produced 4.01 million barrels per day (bpd).
The last time the country produced more than 4 million bpd was 2016; by 2017 production dropped 3.1%.
Remaining at seventh place from the previous year, the UAE’s oil reserves have remained unchanged since 1988 – totalling 98 billion barrels per day. At the current rate of production and consumption, this means the country has enough reserves to last almost 300 years.5
Brazil: 2.85 million bpd
Brazil saw a significant increase in oil production from 2020 to 2021, which was up from 2.73 million bpd in the same period of the previous year, according to local oil regulator, ANP.
While in 2020 the country produced 3.67 million bpd, 2021’s production figure was considerably less at 2.85 million bpd, which is 4% of global production and in line with Iraq and the UAE.
Like most oil-producing countries, Brazil’s oil exports decreased in recent years due to lower global demand. The country holds less than 1% of the world’s oil reserves – enough to last around 15 years.4
Kuwait: 2.61 million bpd
A member of OPEC and the world’s ninth largest oil producer, Kuwait experienced a severe drop in oil production rates in 2021, from 2.94 million bpd (2020) down to 2.61 million barrels the following year.5
This is not a good sign for Kuwait's economy, as oil comprises almost half of its GDP (down from 60% in 2020); approximately 95% of export revenues; and around 90% of government revenue. Kuwait holds 7% of global oil reserves and has a current production capacity of about 3.15 million barrels.4
Between January and December 2021, its crude oil reserves grew substantially from 2440 to 2665.98 thousand barrels reaching a maximum of 1.52% in November 2021. Kuwait’s oil reserves are estimated to last about 775 years.
Iran: 2.54 million bpd
Iran exerted significant control over the oil industry in the 1970s, producing 5 to 6 million barrels of oil per day. As more countries produced and exported oil, this number decreased drastically as Iran experienced additional drops in production following strict, US-imposed sanctions.6
Unlike Kuwait, Iran does not rely solely on oil but has a relatively diversified economy with other exports that include chemicals, plastics, fruits, ceramic products and metals.
With a 3% share of global production, Iran remains committed to its investment in oil aiming to inject $500 billion into the sector by 2025.
This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.
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