Visualizing the World’s Largest Oil Producers
The World’s Largest Oil Producers
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.
Using data from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, the above infographic provides further context on the crisis by visualizing the world’s largest oil producers in 2021.
Oil Production: OPEC Countries vs. Rest of the World
Before looking at country-level data, it’s worth seeing the amount of oil the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) produces compared to other organizations and regions.
|Region/Organization||2021 Oil Production (barrels per day)||% of Total|
|Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)||13.8M||15%|
|Rest of the World||20.5M||23%|
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 (B/D) in 2020.
Following the OPEC countries, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico accounted for just over a quarter of global oil production in 2021. Nearly 70% of North American oil production came from the U.S., 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% of total CIS production.
The Largest Oil Producers in 2021
Roughly 43% of the world’s oil production came from just three countries in 2021—the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Russia. Together, these three countries produced more oil than the rest of the top 10 combined.
|Country||2021 Oil Production (barrels per day)||% of Total|
|Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦||11M||12.2%|
|Russian Federation 🇷🇺||10.9M||12.2%|
|United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪||3.7M||4.1%|
|United Kingdom 🇬🇧||0.87M||1.0%|
|Republic of Congo 🇨🇬||0.27M||0.3%|
|South Sudan 🇸🇩||0.15M||0.2%|
|Equatorial Guinea 🇬🇳||0.14M||0.2%|
|Trinidad & Tobago 🇹🇹||0.08M||0.1%|
|Rest of the World 🌍||1.2M||1.4%|
Over the last 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 B/D, it reached a historic low of 6.8 million B/D 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 U.S. remained a net importer of crude oil while exporting refined petroleum products.
Saudi Arabia and Russia each produced roughly 11 million B/D 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% 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.
How the Energy Crisis is Affecting Oil Production
After a deep dive in 2020, oil demand is resurfacing and is now above pre-pandemic levels. Furthermore, supply constraints due to sanctions on Russian oil and gas tighten the market and support high oil prices.
While the impact has been felt globally, European countries have been hit hard due to their reliance on Russia’s fossil fuel exports, with some getting almost all of their energy fuels from Russia.
To combat the oil crunch, the rest of the world is ramping up oil supply through increased production or releasing strategic petroleum reserves (SPRs). U.S. oil production is expected to rise by 1 million B/D in 2022 to a record-high. Simultaneously, Western nations are calling on OPEC members to increase their output to ease prices. However, OPEC nations are sticking to their planned production hikes, with output still below early 2020 levels.
“We had a good discussion on ensuring global energy security and adequate oil supplies to support global economic growth. And that will begin shortly.”– U.S. President Joe Biden on his recent visit to Saudi Arabia
The U.S. is releasing 180 million barrels of oil from its SPR, of which 60 million barrels will contribute to the IEA’s collective release of 120 million barrels. But with oil demand expected to reach a new all-time high in 2023, it remains to be seen whether these efforts to increase supply will be enough to curb the crunch.
Where are Clean Energy Technologies Manufactured?
As the market for low-emission solutions expands, China dominates the production of clean energy technologies and their components.
Visualizing Where Clean Energy Technologies Are Manufactured
When looking at where clean energy technologies and their components are made, one thing is very clear: China dominates the industry.
The country, along with the rest of the Asia Pacific region, accounts for approximately 75% of global manufacturing capacity across seven clean energy technologies.
Based on the IEA’s 2023 Energy Technology Perspectives report, the visualization above breaks down global manufacturing capacity by region for mass-manufactured clean energy technologies, including onshore and offshore wind, solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, electric vehicles (EVs), fuel cell trucks, heat pumps, and electrolyzers.
The State of Global Manufacturing Capacity
Manufacturing capacity refers to the maximum amount of goods or products a facility can produce within a specific period. It is determined by several factors, including:
- The size of the manufacturing facility
- The number of machines or production lines available
- The skill level of the workforce
- The availability of raw materials
According to the IEA, the global manufacturing capacity for clean energy technologies may periodically exceed short-term production needs. Currently this is true especially for EV batteries, fuel cell trucks, and electrolyzers. For example, while only 900 fuel cell trucks were sold globally in 2021, the aggregate self-reported capacity by manufacturers was 14,000 trucks.
With that said, there still needs to be a significant increase in manufacturing capacity in the coming decades if demand aligns with the IEA’s 2050 net-zero emissions scenario. Such developments require investments in new equipment and technology, developing the clean energy workforce, access to raw and refined materials, and optimizing production processes to improve efficiency.
What Gives China the Advantage?
Of the above clean energy technologies and their components, China averages 65% of global manufacturing capacity. For certain components, like solar PV wafers, this percentage is as high as 96%.
Here’s a breakdown of China’s manufacturing capacity per clean energy technology.
|Technology||China’s share of global manufacturing capacity, 2021|
|Solar PV Systems||85%|
|Fuel Cell Trucks||47%|
So, what gives China this advantage in the clean energy technology sector? According to the IEA report, the answer lies in a combination of factors:
- Low manufacturing costs
- A dominance in clean energy metal processing, namely cobalt, lithium, and rare earth metals
- Sustained policy support and investment
The mixture of these factors has allowed China to capture a significant share of the global market for clean technologies while driving down the cost of clean energy worldwide.
As the market for low-emission solutions expands, China’s dominance in the sector will likely continue in the coming years and have notable implications for the global energy and emission landscape.
The ESG Challenges for Transition Metals
Can energy transition metals markets ramp up production to satisfy demand while meeting ever-more stringent ESG requirements?
The ESG Challenges for Transition Metals
An accelerated energy transition is needed to respond to climate change.
According to the Paris Agreement, 196 countries have already committed to limiting global warming to below 2°C, preferably 1.5°C. However, changing the energy system after over a century of burning fossil fuels comes with challenges.
In the above graphic from our sponsor Wood Mackenzie, we discuss the challenges that come with the increasing demand for transition metals.
Building Blocks of a Decarbonized World
Mined commodities like lithium, cobalt, graphite and rare earths are critical to producing electric vehicles (EVs), wind turbines, and other technologies necessary to burn fewer fossil fuels and reduce overall carbon emissions.
EVs, for example, can have up to six times more minerals than a combustion vehicle.
As a result, the extraction and refining of these metals will need to be expedited to limit the rise of global temperatures.
Here’s the outlook for different metals under Wood Mackenzie’s Accelerated Energy Transition (AET) scenario, in which the world is on course to limit the rise in global temperatures since pre-industrial times to 1.5°C by the end of this century.
|Metal||Demand Outlook (%) 2025||2030||2035||2040|
Graphite demand is expected to soar 1,100% by 2040, as demand for lithium is expected to jump 940% over this time.
A Challenge to Satisfy the Demand for Lithium
Lithium-ion batteries are indispensable for transport electrification and are also commonly used in cell phones, laptop computers, cordless power tools, and other devices.
Lithium demand in an AET scenario is estimated to reach 6.7 million tons by 2050, nine times more than 2022 levels.
In the same scenario, EV sales will double by 2030, making the demand for Li-ion batteries quadruple by 2050.
The ESG Challenge with Cobalt
Another metal in high demand is cobalt, used in rechargeable batteries in smartphones and laptops and also in lithium-ion batteries for vehicles.
Increasing production comes with significant environmental and social risks, as cobalt reserves and mine production are concentrated in regions and countries with substantial ESG problems.
Currently, 70% of mined cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where nearly three-quarters of the population lives in extreme poverty.
|Country||2021 Production (Tonnes)|
|🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of the Congo||120,000|
|🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||3,000|
Around one-fifth of cobalt mined in the DRC comes from small-scale artisanal mines, many of which rely on child labor.
Considering other obstacles like rising costs due to reserve depletion and surging resource nationalism, a shortfall in the cobalt market can emerge as early as 2024, according to Wood Mackenzie. Battery recycling, if fully utilised, can ease the upcoming supply shortage, but it cannot fill the entire gap.
Rare Earths: Winners and Losers
Rare earths are used in EVs and wind turbines but also in petroleum refining and gas vehicles. Therefore, an accelerated energy transition presents a mixed bag.
Using permanent magnets in applications like electric motors, sensors, and magnetic recording and storage media is expected to boost demand for materials like neodymium (Nd) and praseodymium (Pr) oxide.
On the contrary, as the world shifts from gas vehicles to EVs, declining demand from catalytic converters in fossil fuel-powered vehicles will impact lanthanum (La) and cerium (Ce).
Taking all into consideration, the demand for rare earths in an accelerated energy transition is forecasted to increase by 233% between 2020 and 2050. In this scenario, existing producers would be impacted by a short- to medium-term supply deficit.
The ESG dilemma
There is a clear dilemma for energy transition metals in an era of unprecedented demand. Can vital energy transition metals markets ramp up production fast enough to satisfy demand, while also revolutionising supply chains to meet ever-more stringent ESG requirements?
Understanding the challenges and how to capitalise on this investment opportunity has become more important than ever.
Sign up to Wood Mackenzie’s Inside Track to learn more about the impact of an accelerated energy transition on mining and metals.
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