According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2020, the world’s total proved oil reserves came out to 1.73 trillion barrels, with roughly a hundred million barrels being produced globally on a daily basis.
Recent estimates indicate that planet Earth derives over a third of its total energy production from oil—and as a result, those nations that control large portions of the global oil reserves often boast the most geopolitical and economic power.
So, which countries wield such influence worldwide? Here are the top ten countries that are home to the largest known oil reserves.
Venezuela tops the list with three hundred four billion barrels of proven reserves, which represent a sizeable 17.5 percent share of the entire global market. The South American country was able to surpass Saudi Arabia for the number one spot on this list in 2011.
2. Saudi Arabia
Before Venezuela came onto the scene, it was the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that for decades boasted the world’s biggest proven oil reserves. With just under three hundred billion barrels, the country owns 17.2 percent of the global total.
With proven oil reserves of roughly a hundred seventy billion barrels—or 9.8 percent share of the global resource—Canada is sitting solidly in third place.
International sanctions over the years on the Middle Eastern country have hurt its energy sector, but it still owns a hundred fifty-six billion barrels or 9 percent of the world’s share.
Neighboring Middle Eastern country Iraq is known to have oil reserves of a hundred forty-five billion barrels, which come out to 8.4 percent of the global share.
Moving out of the Middle East, Russia has been one of the world’s top oil-producing nations, ranking it only behind the United States and Saudi Arabia. Russia possesses about a hundred seven billion barrels of proven oil reserves or 6.2 percent of the world’s total.
Right behind Russia is Kuwait, which holds just under one hundred two billion barrels, representing a 5.9 percent share of the global total.
8. United Arab Emirates
The UAE—a federation of seven emirates that comprises Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm Al Quwain—controls about ninety-eight billion barrels of oil reserves, a 5.6 percent share of the global total.
9. United States
Even though the United States is now among the world’s biggest oil-producing countries, the nation still ranks only ninth in terms of having the largest proven oil reserves, which came in at sixty-nine billion barrels, or 4 percent of the world’s total.
Rounding out the list is Libya with forty-eight billion barrels, or 2.8 percent of the world’s proven resource. The North African country is home to the largest deposits on the continent.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.