Power at the pump: The world’s largest oil-producing nations
- October 1, 2022: Vol. 9, Number 9

Power at the pump: The world’s largest oil-producing nations

by Visual Capitalist

The world is in the middle of the first energy crisis of the 21st century. High energy prices, especially for oil, gas and coal, are driving decades-high inflation in various countries, some of which are also experiencing energy shortages. Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated the crisis, given that the country is both a major producer and exporter of oil and natural gas.

The OPEC countries are the largest oil producers collectively, with Saudi Arabia alone making up one-third of OPEC production. It’s also important to note that OPEC production remains below pre-pandemic levels after the organization reduced its output by an unprecedented 10 million barrels per day in 2020.

Following the OPEC countries, the United States, Canada and Mexico accounted for just over one-quarter of global oil production in 2021. Nearly 70 percent of North American oil production came from the United States, the world’s largest oil producer.

Similarly, within the CIS (an organization of post-Soviet Union countries) Russia was by far the largest producer, accounting for 80 percent of total CIS production.

Roughly 43 percent of the world’s oil production came from just three countries in 2021 — the United States, Saudi Arabia and Russia. Together, these three countries produced more oil than the rest of the top 10 combined.

Over the past few decades, U.S. oil production has been on a rollercoaster of troughs and peaks. After falling from its 1970 peak of 11.3 million barrels per day, it reached a historic low of 6.8 million barrels per day in 2008. However, following a turnaround in the 2010s, the country has since surpassed Saudi Arabia as the largest oil producer. As of 2021, though, the United States remained a net importer of crude oil while exporting refined petroleum products.

Saudi Arabia and Russia each produced roughly 11 million barrel per day in 2021 and were the two largest oil exporters globally. In both countries, state-owned oil firms (Saudi Aramco and Gazprom, respectively) were the most valuable oil and gas producing companies.

From Europe (excluding Russia), only Norway made the top 15 oil producers, accounting for 2.3 percent of global production. The lack of regional output partly explains the European Union’s dependence on Russian oil and gas, worsening the region’s energy crisis.


This story was excerpted from a Visual Capitalist report. Read the full report here.

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