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Visualizing the Rise of the U.S. as Top Crude Oil Producer

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Line chart showing how the U.S. has surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world's top producer of crude oil.

Visualizing the Rise of the U.S. as Top Crude Oil Producer

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Over the last decade, the United States has established itself as the world’s top producer of crude oil, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia.

This infographic illustrates the rise of the U.S. as the biggest oil producer, based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

 

 

U.S. Takes Lead in 2018

Over the last three decades, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Russia have alternated as the top crude producers, but always by small margins.

During the 1990s, Saudi Arabia dominated crude production, taking advantage of its extensive oil reserves. The petroleum sector accounts for roughly 42% of the country’s GDP, 87% of its budget revenues, and 90% of export earnings.

However, during the 2000s, Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia in production during some years, following strategic investments in expanding its oil infrastructure. The majority of Russia’s oil goes to OECD Europe (60%), with around 20% going to China.

Crude Oil ProductionUnited StatesSaudi ArabiaRussia
199211.93%13.97%12.74%
199311.50%13.68%11.35%
199410.96%13.32%10.50%
199510.60%13.17%9.96%
199610.21%12.87%9.49%
19979.84%12.73%9.29%
19989.39%12.58%9.05%
19999.06%11.99%9.33%
20008.67%12.33%9.64%
20018.65%11.89%10.45%
20028.63%11.49%11.53%
20038.05%12.92%12.10%
20047.46%12.74%12.67%
20057.00%13.21%12.82%
20066.85%13.00%12.90%
20076.84%12.38%13.29%
20086.71%12.44%12.56%
20097.32%11.28%12.98%
20107.37%11.31%13.03%
20117.55%12.81%13.02%
20128.50%13.04%12.94%
20139.76%12.86%13.10%
201411.18%12.60%12.86%
201511.67%12.77%12.66%
201610.92%13.12%13.02%
201711.53%12.68%13.05%
201813.21%12.77%12.96%
201914.90%12.15%13.20%
202014.87%12.37%12.97%
202114.59%12.06%13.10%
202214.73%13.17%12.76%

Over the 2010s, the U.S. witnessed an increase in domestic production, much of it attributable to hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in the shale formations ranging from Texas to North Dakota. It became the world’s largest oil producer in 2018, outproducing Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. accounted for 14.7% of crude oil production worldwide in 2022, compared to 13.1% for Saudi Arabia and 12.7% for Russia.

Despite leading petroleum production, the U.S. still trails seven countries in remaining proven reserves underground, with 55,251 million barrels.

Venezuela has the biggest reserves with 303,221 million barrels. Saudi Arabia, with 267,192 million barrels, occupies the second spot, while Russia is seventh with 80,000 million barrels.

 

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Energy

Visualizing Natural Gas Reserves By Country

Russia has the biggest reserves, accounting for around 20% of the global total.

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Stacked Bar Chart Showing Natural Gas Reserves by Country

Visualizing Natural Gas Reserves By Country

Natural gas is used to generate electricity, heat homes and buildings, and power vehicles. It is also a raw material in various industrial processes.

In this graphic, creator Gopalakrishnan Ravichandran ranks natural gas reserves by country. He uses data from the bp Statistical Review, as of September 2023.

Russia Has the Biggest Reserves

Natural gas, coal, and oil have formed over millions of years as plant and animal remains mixed with sediment and undergo pressure and heat.

A natural gas reservoir is a subsurface area where natural gas is trapped within porous and permeable rock formations and confined by impermeable rock or water barriers.

Proven reserves represent the volume of natural gas that can be recovered under existing economic and operating conditions. These reserves can increase when new, successful exploratory wells are drilled.

Russia has the biggest reserves, with 37.4 trillion cubic meters or around 20% of the global total. Iran, in second, has 17% of the total reserves, followed by Qatar with 13%.

CountryReserve (tcm)Percentage
🇷🇺 Russian Federation37.419.9%
🇮🇷 Iran32.117.1%
🇶🇦 Qatar24.713.1%
🇹🇲 Turkmenistan13.67.2%
🇺🇸 US12.66.7%
🇨🇳 China8.44.5%
🇻🇪 Venezuela6.33.3%
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia6.03.2%
🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates5.93.1%
🇳🇬 Nigeria5.52.9%
🇮🇶 Iraq3.51.9%
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan2.51.3%
🇨🇦 Canada2.41.3%
🇦🇺 Australia2.41.3%
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan2.31.2%
🇩🇿 Algeria2.31.2%
🇪🇬 Egypt2.11.1%
Others18.19.6%
TOTAL188.1100.0%

Asia dominates reserves by region, with six countries among the top 10. Meanwhile, Africa, Europe, North America, and South America each have one representative.

Despite being the 5th in proven reserves, the U.S. is the biggest natural gas producer, with 23% of the global share. Russia comes second (17.4%), with Iran in 3rd place (6.4%).

In addition, the U.S. is also the leading gas exporter, exporting 82.7 billion cubic meters of gas via pipelines in 2022 and 104.3 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Russia was the second-largest natural gas exporter globally, followed by Qatar and Norway.

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