The global production of oil is driven by a host of complex factors, ranging from resource scarcity to a country’s access to the latest technological breakthroughs.
As these factors play out, the oil production landscape can dramatically change.
Countries can secure energy independence and global influence by rising up the rankings – or they can fall off the map completely, becoming a footnote on the global stage.
Animation: The Changing Oil Landscape
Today’s animation shows you how the oil landscape has changed, in terms of production by country, in less than a minute of time.
Data here comes from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2018, which chronicles oil production by country all the way from 1965-2017.
The animation starts in 1965 during the height of the Cold War – a time when it was becoming incredibly evident that the ability to produce oil self-sufficiently would be a crucial advantage for any type of global superpower.
|Rank||Country||Oil production (bpd) in 1965|
|#1||🇺🇸 United States||9.0 million|
|#2||☭ USSR||4.9 million|
|#3||🇻🇪 Venezuela||3.5 million|
|#4||🇰🇼 Kuwait||2.4 million|
|#5||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||2.2 million|
|#6||🇮🇷 Iran||1.9 million|
|#7||🇮🇶 Iraq||1.3 million|
|#8||🇱🇾 Libya||1.2 million|
|#9||🇨🇦 Canada||0.9 million|
|#10||🇩🇿 Algeria||0.6 million|
During this stretch of time, the United States was the undeniable leader in oil production, producing an average of 9.0 million barrels per day.
Put another way, U.S. oil production nearly double that of the entire USSR, or four times as much as the largest Arab producer (Kuwait), making this period a heyday of U.S. energy dominance.
Modern Production Figures
According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018, here is how oil production has shaped up based on more recent data.
|Rank||Country||Oil production (bpd) in 2017|
|#1||🇺🇸 United States||13.1 million|
|#2||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||12.0 million|
|#3||🇷🇺 Russian Federation||11.3 million|
|#4||🇮🇷 Iran||5.0 million|
|#5||🇨🇦 Canada||4.8 million|
|#6||🇮🇶 Iraq||4.5 million|
|#7||🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||3.9 million|
|#8||🇨🇳 China||3.8 million|
|#9||🇰🇼 Kuwait||3.0 million|
|#10||🇧🇷 Brazil||2.7 million|
As you can see, there are essentially three superpowers that produce over 10 million barrels of oil per day: United States (13.1 million), Saudi Arabia (12.0 million), and Russia (11.3 million).
Together, these three countries combine for 39.1% of global oil production, and about 24.9% of the world’s proven oil reserves.
After this group, there is a significant dropoff: Iran (5.0 million bpd), Canada (4.8 million bpd) and Iraq (4.5 million bpd) each have a 5% share of global production, while the U.A.E. and China are next on the list.
In total, the top 10 producers of crude oil combine for roughly 70% of the global total – meaning the world’s other 183 countries added together produce just 30% of the world’s total crude.
Visualizing the Biggest Risks to the Global Economy in 2020
The Global Risk Report 2020 paints an unprecedented risk landscape for 2020—one dominated by climate change and other environmental concerns.
Top Risks in 2020: Dominated by Environmental Factors
Environmental concerns are a frequent talking point drawn upon by politicians and scientists alike, and for good reason. Irrespective of economic or social status, climate change has the potential to affect us all.
While public urgency surrounding climate action has been growing, it can be difficult to comprehend the potential extent of economic disruption that environmental risks pose.
Front and Center
Today’s chart uses data from the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Risks Report, which surveyed 800 leaders from business, government, and non-profits to showcase the most prominent economic risks the world faces.
According to the data in the report, here are the top five risks to the global economy, in terms of their likelihood and potential impact:
|Top Global Risks (by "Likelihood")||Top Global Risks (by "Impact")|
|#1||Extreme weather||#1||Climate action failure|
|#2||Climate action failure||#2||Weapons of mass destruction|
|#3||Natural disasters||#3||Biodiversity loss|
|#4||Biodiversity loss||#4||Extreme weather|
|#5||Humanmade environmental disasters||#5||Water crises|
With more emphasis being placed on environmental risks, how much do we need to worry?
According to the World Economic Forum, more than we can imagine. The report asserts that, among many other things, natural disasters are becoming more intense and more frequent.
While it can be difficult to extrapolate precisely how environmental risks could cascade into trouble for the global economy and financial system, here are some interesting examples of how they are already affecting institutional investors and the insurance industry.
The Stranded Assets Dilemma
If the world is to stick to its 2°C global warming threshold, as outlined in the Paris Agreement, a significant amount of oil, gas, and coal reserves would need to be left untouched. These assets would become “stranded”, forfeiting roughly $1-4 trillion from the world economy.
Growing awareness of this risk has led to a change in sentiment. Many institutional investors have become wary of their portfolio exposures, and in some cases, have begun divesting from the sector entirely.
The financial case for fossil fuel divestment is strong. Fossil fuel companies once led the economy and world stock markets. They now lag.
– Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
The last couple of years have been a game-changer for the industry’s future prospects. For example, 2018 was a milestone year in fossil fuel divestment:
- Nearly 1,000 institutional investors representing $6.24 trillion in assets have pledged to divest from fossil fuels, up from just $52 billion four years ago;
- Ireland became the first country to commit to fossil fuel divestment. At the time of announcement, its sovereign development fund had $10.4 billion in assets;
- New York City became the largest (but not the first) city to commit to fossil fuel divestment. Its pension funds, totaling $189 billion at the time of announcement, aim to divest over a 5-year period.
A Tough Road Ahead
In a recent survey, actuaries ranked climate change as their top risk for 2019, ahead of damages from cyberattacks, financial instability, and terrorism—drawing strong parallels with the results of this year’s Global Risk Report.
These growing concerns are well-founded. 2017 was the costliest year on record for natural disasters, with $344 billion in global economic losses. This daunting figure translated to a record year for insured losses, totalling $140 billion.
Although insured losses over 2019 have fallen back in line with the average over the past 10 years, Munich RE believes that long-term environmental effects are already being felt:
- Recent studies have shown that over the long term, the environmental conditions for bushfires in Australia have become more favorable;
- Despite a decrease in U.S. wildfire losses compared to previous years, there is a rising long-term trend for forest area burned in the U.S.;
- An increase in hailstorms, as a result of climate change, has been shown to contribute to growing losses across the globe.
The Ball Is In Our Court
It’s clear that the environmental issues we face are beginning to have a larger real impact. Despite growing awareness and preliminary actions such as fossil fuel divestment, the Global Risk Report stresses that there is much more work to be done to mitigate risks.
How companies and governments choose to respond over the next decade will be a focal point of many discussions to come.
The Periodic Table of Commodity Returns
Which individual commodities were the best performers in 2019, and how do those numbers compare to the past decade of data?
The Periodic Table of Commodity Returns 2019
In 2019, every major asset class finished in the black.
And although the broad commodity market finished up 17.6% on the year, the performances of individual commodities were all over the map. For those familiar with the sector, that’s pretty much par for the course.
That said, the lack of an obvious correlation in commodity markets also makes for a thought-provoking and humbling exercise: comparing the annual returns of commodities against the data from the past decade.
A Decade of Commodities (2010-2019)
Today’s visualization comes to us from U.S. Global Investors, and it compares individual commodity returns between 2010 and 2019.
You can use the interactive tool on their website to toggle between various settings for the table of commodity returns, such as breaking them down by category (i.e. energy, precious metals, etc.), by best and worst performers, or by volatility over the time period.
Let’s dive into the data to see what trends we can uncover.
Palladium: The Best Commodity, Three Years Straight
In 2019, palladium finished as the best performing commodity for the third straight year — this time, with a 54.2% return.
You could have bought the precious metal for about $400/oz in early 2010, when it was a fraction of the price of either gold or platinum.
Nowadays, thanks to the metal’s ability to reduce harmful car emissions and an uncertain supply situation, palladium trades for above $2,000/oz — making it more expensive per ounce than both gold and platinum.
Oil and Gas: Opposite Ends of the Spectrum
As key energy commodities, oil and natural gas have an inherent connection to one another.
However, in 2019, the two commodities had completely diverging performances:
Crude oil prices gained 34.5% on the year, making it one of the best commodities for investors — meanwhile, natural gas went the opposite direction, dropping 25.5% on the year. This actually cements gas as the worst performing major commodity of the decade.
“That’s Gold, Jerry!”
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that gold and silver had a bounceback year.
Gold gained 18.3% to finish with the best return the yellow metal has seen in a decade. Silver followed suit with a similar story, rallying 15.2% over the calendar year.
Precious metals now sit at multi-year highs against an interesting economic and geopolitical backdrop to start 2020.
Where do you see the above commodities ending up on next year’s edition of the rankings?
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