Oil Reserves

Where are the world’s largest natural oil reserves located?

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Map of the proven natural oil reserves per country.

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We all know the Middle East is rich in oil. But it’s not the only place in the world with large oil reserves. Although Saudi Arabia has a very large oil reserve, it’s not the largest in the world. Venezuela has the largest proven natural oil reserves in the world. Almost 20% of the world’s oil reserves are located in Venezuela.

Most of the oil reserves are located in the Middle East. Iraq and Iran also make it into the global top 5, together with Saudi Arabia. Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates also have a significant oil reserve.

Outside of the Middle East, we can see that Canada has the 3rd largest oil reserve in the world. Much larger than most Middle Eastern countries. About 10% of the world’s oil reserves are located in Canada.

Other countries with significant oil reserves are the United States, Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Qatar, Libya and Nigeria.

Despite its riches in oil, Venezuela is one of the poorest countries in the world. There are several reasons for that. One of them is government mismanagement of money. Because of the large revenues from oil, the Venezuelan government could spend large amounts of money. This changed when the oil price plummeted in 2014, as Venezuela’s economy is not diversified enough and depends heavily on the export of oil. This led to the Venezuelan government not being able to pays its debts.

Most of the oil production is government controlled. Mismanagement and a lack of expertise have also hurt the revenues from oil. On top of that, the Venezuela is now experiencing hyperinflation and the Venezuelan Bolivar is near worthless.

The data for this map is from 2021 and comes from the US Energy Information Administration.

One comment

  1. In their 2019 federal budget, Canada’s supposedly environmentally conscious Liberal government gave the fossil fuel sector 12-fold the subsidization they allocated towards renewable energy innovation. (This was on top of agreeing to triple the diluted bitumen pipeline-flow westward through B.C., which means increasing the oil freighter traffic seven-fold through pristine whale-bearing waters.) In fact, our federal government, which always is run by either the (neo)Liberal or Conservative Party, does this same kind of bad-cause subsidization every budget year, more or less. Mass addiction to fossil-fuel-powered single occupant vehicles surely helps keep the average addict’s mouth shut about the planet’s greatest and still very profitable polluter, lest they feel like and/or be publicly deemed hypocrites.


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