The world’s biggest oil exporters in 2023

Oluwatosin Jegede

In 2021, oil was the most traded commodity globally, dominating trade with a significant 4.52% share. This vital resource, crude oil, is the foundation for many essential products, from fuel to plastics. Remarkably, in 2022, the world’s oil production soared to 93.9 million barrels daily, most of which were from the top 10 biggest oil exporters.

Considering the dynamics of the world’s top 10 oil-exporting countries, it’s clear they are not just mere participants but pivotal influencers in global trade and politics. The 10 Biggest oil exporters were responsible for nearly three-quarters of the world’s oil exports, underscoring their substantial impact on the global economic and political landscape.

Top 10 biggest oil exporters today

1. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, one of the biggest oil exporters, led the world in oil exports in 2021. Its exports, valued at $138 billion, accounted for a substantial 14.5% of the global total. As the foremost producer within OPEC, the country churned out 12.14 million barrels per day in 2022, making up about 12% of worldwide production.

With 15% of the planet’s oil reserves, oil is the cornerstone of Saudi Arabia’s economy. It fuels up to 70% of the nation’s exports and over half of its government revenue.

2. Russia

Russia ranks second, contributing 11.8% to global oil exports in 2021, equating to $113 billion. Its daily production averaged 10.94 million barrels, involving major companies like Rosneft, Surgutneftegas, and Gazprom, accounting for 11% of global production.

However, geopolitics cast a shadow over Russia’s oil industry. Post its annexation of Crimea in 2014, the U.S. and EU imposed economic sanctions, restricting Russian energy firms from accessing Western capital markets. The 2022 invasion of Ukraine by Russia led to more severe U.S. sanctions, including a ban on Russian oil imports. This geopolitical strife has significantly impacted the European reliance on Russian oil, leading to a global shift away from Russian oil imports following the imposition of sanctions.

3. Canada

Ranking as the world’s third-largest oil exporter among the biggest oil exporters, Canada shipped $81.2 billion worth of oil in 2021. This represented 8.54% of global exports. Canada’s oil reserves, primarily in Alberta’s oil sands, are the fourth-largest globally, totaling 168 billion barrels.

The Canadian oil industry is deeply intertwined with the U.S. economy. In 2021, a massive 97% of its oil exports were destined for the United States, comprising 62% of all U.S. oil imports. Major energy companies like Enbridge, Suncor, and Imperial Oil are significant players in Canada’s oil sector.

4. Iraq

Iraq secured its position as the fourth-largest in the list of biggest oil exporters in 2021, generating $72 billion in revenue and contributing 7.57% to global exports. As OPEC’s second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia, Iraq plays a crucial role in the oil export market.

The country is endowed with the world’s fifth-largest oil reserves. However, a significant portion of these reserves is either being developed or is already tapped. Oil revenues are vital for Iraq, accounting for about 92% of government revenues in 2019.

5. United States

The United States stands as the fifth-largest oil exporter, with $67.6 billion in exports in 2021, making up 7.11% of the worldwide total. Between 2011 and 2020, the U.S. remarkably increased its oil production. In 2022, it produced 20.21 million barrels per day, representing about 20% of the global output, making it the world’s largest oil producer.

Home to industry giants like Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Exxon Mobil, the U.S. is a key player in the global oil market.

6. United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The UAE, although geographically small, made a significant mark in the oil export industry. In 2021, it exported oil worth $58.5 billion, accounting for 6.15% of global exports. In 2022, the UAE’s daily oil production was 4.24 million barrels, about 4% of global production.

The UAE’s oil reserves, estimated at around 100 billion barrels, rank as the world’s seventh-largest. While the country’s economy has diversified, oil and gas still contribute about 30% to its GDP.

7. Nigeria

As the seventh-largest among the biggest oil exporters, Nigeria exported $41.8 billion in oil in 2021, comprising 4.4% of the global share. Home to Africa’s largest proven oil reserves, most of Nigeria’s 37 billion barrels are found along the Niger River Delta and offshore in the Gulf of Guinea and the Bights of Benin and Bonny.

8. Norway

Norway sent out $41.5 billion worth of oil in 2021, accounting for 4.36% of the global oil market. With the largest oil reserves in Western Europe, Norway primarily supplies oil to its European neighbors. The oil sector is a cornerstone of the Norwegian economy, representing 50% of its exports and over 20% of its GDP.

9. Kuwait

Despite its small size, Kuwait stands out as a significant oil exporter. In 2021, it accounted for 4.21% of global exports, translating to $40.1 billion in oil sales. As of 2022, Kuwait produced around 3.02 million barrels per day, ranking as the world’s tenth-largest producer. Its reserves are among the top seven globally.

10. Brazil

Brazil marks its position as the tenth-largest oil exporter globally, with $30.7 billion in exports in 2021, making up 3.23% of the world’s total. In 2022, the country’s daily production was 3.77 million barrels, about 4% of the global output. Brazil boasts 12.7 billion barrels of oil reserves, the second-largest in South America, following Venezuela.

Global political landscape shapes oil trade

Oil remains the world’s most sought-after commodity, integral due to its extensive applications. The roster of the largest oil exporters is diverse, spanning continents, with Saudi Arabia currently leading. However, this lineup is subject to annual shifts, influenced by the global political landscape, fluctuating oil prices, and internal dynamics within each country.

Russia’s prominence in the oil market faced a significant setback in 2022 following its invasion of Ukraine. The global response, marked by sanctions and a concerted move away from Russian oil, is a testament to how geopolitics can reshape the oil trade landscape. Despite these changes, oil continues to be a valuable asset for these nations, substantially bolstering their GDPs.

Read also: What are OPEC countries and how powerful are they in the global oil market

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