10 Top Oil-producing Countries

Global oil production has continued to rise over the years. Here's a look at the 10 top oil-producing countries of 2016.

top oil-producing countries

Global oil production has risen steadily in recent years, pushing the market into oversupply and causing prices to dip significantly.

But in 2016, investor sentiment was boosted when OPEC and 11 other top oil-producing countries made a deal to cut output. The agreement called for oil production to fall by almost 1.8 million barrels a day, and experts initially predicted that it could cause oil prices to rise substantially. However, rising US oil production has kept prices under pressure.

Given those circumstances, many investors are curious to know which countries produce the most oil. Read on for a look at the 10 top oil-producing countries in the world in 2016. Statistics are from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), and include total production of petroleum and other liquids.

1. United States

Production: 14,827,000 bpd

The US produced the most oil in 2016, though its production decreased to 14,827,000 bpd from 15,123,000 bpd in 2015. The country’s shale industry saw a strong rebound in 2016, and according to OilPrice.com, the US rig count surged in the second half of the year. Companies large and small piled into shale plays, particularly in the Permian Basin in West Texas.

Last year, the US consumed a total of 7.19 billion barrels of petroleum products — that’s an average of about 19.63 million bpd.

2. Saudi Arabia

Production: 12,387,000 bpd

Saudi Arabia takes the second spot on this list of top oil-producing countries. Its output came in at 12,387,000 bpd in 2016, up from 12,072,000 bpd in 2015. The Middle Eastern country possesses 18 percent of the world’s proven petroleum reserves and ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum. Its oil and gas sector accounts for about 50 percent of its GDP, and about 85 percent of its export earnings.

Last year, Saudi Arabia played a key role in OPEC’s decision to curb oil output. More recently, Saudi Arabia and a number of other Middle Eastern oil producers reached an initial agreement to continue output cuts beyond their June expiry.

3. Russia

Production: 11,240,000 bpd

Russian oil output has been increasing steadily over the years, and rose from 11,030,000 bpd in 2015 to 11,240,000 bpd last year. According to the EIA, Russia is the world’s largest producer of oil and the second-largest producer of dry natural gas. Most of Russia’s reserves are located in West Siberia, between the Ural Mountains and the Central Siberian Plateau, and in the Urals-Volga region, extending into the Caspian Sea.

4. China

Production: 4,874,000 bpd

China’s annual oil output decreased in 2016, going down to 4,874,000 bpd from 5,157,000 bpd in 2015. China is the world’s second-largest consumer of oil and moved from being the second-largest net importer of oil to the largest in 2014. The Asian nation is the world’s most populous country and has a rapidly growing economy — those factors have driven its high overall energy demand.

5. Canada

Production: 4,568,000 bpd

Next on this list of top oil-producing countries is Canada. It boosted its annual oil production to 4,568,000 bpd in 2016, more than 2015’s 4,511,000 bpd. 

Nearly all of Canada’s proved oil reserves are located in Alberta, and according to the province’s government, 97 percent of oil reserves there are in the form of oil sands. Energy exports to the US account for the vast majority of Canada’s total energy exports. However, because of economic and other considerations, Canada is developing ways to diversify its trading partners, especially by expanding ties with emerging markets in Asia.

6. Iraq

Production: 4,448,000 bpd

In 2016, Iraq increased its oil production by almost 400,000 bpd, with output rising from 4,050,000 bpd in 2015 to 4,448,000 bpd last year. It holds the world’s fifth-largest proven oil reserves at 144 billion barrels; that represents nearly 18 percent of the reserves in the Middle East and almost 9 percent of global reserves.

7. Iran

Production: 4,138,000 bpd

Iran’s oil output also increased last year, rising to 4,138,000 bpd from 3,447,000 bpd in 2015. According to the EIA, Iran holds the world’s fourth-largest proven oil reserves and the world’s second-largest natural gas reserves. Despite the country’s abundant reserves, Iran’s oil production has substantially declined in recent years, and natural gas production growth has been slower than expected.

8. United Arab Emirates

Production: 3,765,000 bpd

The United Arab Emirates is an OPEC member, and has ranked among the top oil-producing companies for decades. In 2016, it saw an increase in production from the previous year’s 3,673,000 bpd. The country holds the world’s seventh-largest proven oil reserves at 97.8 billion barrels; most of those reserves are located in Abu Dhabi. The other six emirates combined account for just 6 percent of the country’s total reserves.

9. Brazil

Production: 2,016,000 bpd

Last year Brazil’s oil production declined to 2,016,000 million bpd. According to the EIA, total primary energy consumption in Brazil has nearly doubled in the past decade because of sustained economic growth. The largest share of Brazil’s total energy consumption is oil and other liquid fuels, followed by hydroelectricity and natural gas.

10. Kuwait

Production: 3,072,000 bpd

Last on this list of top oil-producing countries is Kuwait, which saw a significant year-on-year increase in output in 2016 — output rose from 2,952,000 bpd in 2015 to 3,072,000 bpd. Kuwait’s oil and gas sector accounts for about 60 percent of country’s GDP and about 95 percent of its export revenues.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.


This article is updated periodically. Please scroll to the top for the most recent information.

By Kristen Moran, 2015

Global oil production has continued to rise over the years, causing the market to become oversupplied. In turn, that has led prices to dip significantly from mid-2014 to date.

Average global oil output in 2014 was 93,097,000 barrels per day (bpd), according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), up from 90,904,000 bpd in 2013. And while the world’s oil output for 2015 remains to be seen, the Iran nuclear deal will likely result in even more supply hitting the market. What’s more, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) just recorded its highest output in three years, putting out 31.5 million bpd last month.

Here’s a look at the 10 top oil-producing countries in the world in 2014, as per the EIA. Statistics include total production of petroleum and other liquids.

1. United States

Production: 13,973,000 bpd

The US took the top spot for the second year in a row, boosting its production from 12,343,000 bpd in 2013 to 13,973,000 in 2014. The country saw its largest one-year volume increase in over 100 years, with its crude oil production increasing by 1.2 million bpd. According to the Institute for Energy Research, shale formations in North Dakota, Texas and New Mexico were major contributors to the increase due to hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling technology. The EIA expects US crude oil production to continue increasing, and is predicting 9.3 million bpd in 2015 and up to 9.5 million bpd in 2016.

Interestingly, the US also took the top spot for oil consumption in 2014, using 19,030,000 bpd. The EIA expects its consumption to continue rising as well, and is calling for an increase to 19.43 million bpd this year and 19.62 million bpd in 2016.

2. Saudi Arabia

Production: 11,624,000 bpd

Saudi Arabia took the second spot on the list despite lower output compared to its 2013 production of 11,702,000 bpd. The Middle Eastern country told Reuters late last year that it will not cut its output in order to boost oil prices, even if non-OPEC countries want to go in that direction.

3. Russia

Production: 10,853,000 bpd

Russian oil output has been increasing steadily over the years, rising from 10,764,000 bpd in 2013 up to 10,853,000 bpd last year. In fact, in 2014 its production hit a post-Soviet record high, indicating that the country’s biggest source of revenues has yet to be affected by US and European sanctions.

4. China

Production: 4,572,000 bpd

China’s annual oil output also saw an increase in 2014, going up to 4,572,000 bpd from 4,543,000 bpd in 2013. According to Reuters, its production is expected to increase further in 2015 due to new production from its third-largest producer, state-owned China National Offshore Oil (CNOOC). Higher oil output from CNOOC will help counter slight production cuts from its two rivals, PetroChina (NYSE:PTR,HKEX:0857) and Sinopec (HKEX:0386).

The Asian nation’s oil consumption has also continued to rise, making it the second-largest oil consumer behind the US; China accounted for 43 percent of the world’s oil consumption growth in 2014.

5. Canada

Production: 4,383,000 bpd

Canada boosted its annual oil production in 2014, putting out more than 2013’s 4,073,000 bpd. The EIA notes that Canada’s oil sands are a significant contributor to the recent growth. In 2013, Canada consumed 2,431,000 bpd.

6. United Arab Emirates

Production: 3,471,000 bpd

The OPEC member has ranked among the 10 top oil producers for decades, and was the second-largest producer in OPEC in 2014. It saw an increase in production from the previous year’s 3,441,000 bpd. According to the EIA, the United Arab Emirates has one of the highest rates of per capita petroleum consumption in the world.

The United Arab Emirates holds the world’s seventh-largest proven oil reserves at 97.8 billion barrels; most of those reserves are located in Abu Dhabi. The other six emirates combined account for just 6 percent of its total reserves.

7. Iran

Production: 3,375,000 bpd

Iran’s oil output increased last year, rising from 3,192,000 bpd in 2013 to 3,375,000 bpd. This number will likely go higher now that Iran has reached an agreement with the P5+1 world powers — the deal will see international sanctions against the country be lifted slowly, and ultimately Iran will be allowed to rejoin OPEC. Following the news of the agreement, the country’s oil minister said Iran will increase its exports by 500,000 bpd as soon as the sanctions are lifted and could increase its output by an additional 500,000 barrels daily in the next six months.

Iran is the second-largest oil consumer in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia, and in 2014 its oil consumption averaged 1.8 million bpd. Nearly all of its demand is met with domestically refined products.

8. Iraq

Production: 3,371,000 bpd

In 2014, Iraq increased its oil production by over 300,000 bpd, from 3,058,000 bpd in 2013 to 3,371,000 bpd last year. It holds the world’s fifth-largest proven crude oil reserves at 144 billion barrels, representing nearly 18 percent of the reserves in the Middle East and almost 9 percent of global reserves.

The OPEC member has been working to redevelop its oil and natural gas reserves following years of sanctions and wars. According to the EIA, its crude oil production has grown by 950,000 bpd over the past five years, increasing from under 2.4 million bpd in 2010 to its current levels.

9. Brazil

Production: 2,950,000 bpd

Brazil took the ninth spot in top-oil producing countries in 2014. Last year it bumped up its total output by nearly 300,000 bpd to 2.95 million bpd, a number that will likely increase in the coming years — that’s because a long-term goal of the Brazilian government is to increase its domestic oil production. According to the EIA, recent discoveries of large, offshore, pre-salt oil deposits could transform Brazil into one of the largest oil producers in the world.

10. Mexico

Production: 2,812,000 bpd

Mexico saw a decrease in oil production in 2014, going from 2,915,000 bpd in 2013 down to 2,812,000 bpd. In 2013, its oil production was at its lowest level since 1995, and its exports to the US are beginning to drop.

The country’s total proven oil reserves sat at 10 billion barrels at the end of 2013, but that may have increased significantly since state-owned Pemex just revealed in June that it has made a big discovery in the Gulf of Mexico. According to a Reuters article, the company’s new shallow-water oil fields could produce 200,000 bpd by mid-2018 and could hold proven, probable and possible reserves as high as 350 million barrels of crude oil equivalent.

Securities Disclosure: I, Kristen Moran, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 

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