Which are the top ten countries with petroleum reserves?

These days, the wealth of a country is determined by its oil reserves. The more petroleum a land holds, the higher it ranks on the economic scale. Moreover, it produces a sense of strength and stability. If you study a bit about this, you will learn that all the petroleum owning countries are considered developed ones. As opposed to those who have limited oil, these countries are self-sufficient in almost everything. 

But why is oil so crucial? Why does its presence matter so much? Let’s see a few examples:

  • Due to self-sufficiency, petrol and other products are cheap.
  • The oil trade brings extra revenue for the country.
  • Used for the power generators, thus helps control the electric supply.

In short, you can say that oil can either establish an economy or destroy it to the core. Any piece of land that is blessed with this gift of nature becomes gold. Many countries have utilized this power to stand on their feet. The development of countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia is based on their oil resources. But let’s understand how this land got filled with oil in the first place. 

The maximum petroleum reserves are lying under the soil of the Gulf countries. The reason for such copious reserves is that the earth’s crust in this region comprises of sedimentary rocks that preponderantly comprise of the fossilized remains of the ancient creatures and vegetation. Constituting mainly hydrogen and carbon, these fossils have been subjected to tremendous heat and pressures of geological upheavals over the period of hundreds of million years to metamorphose into the hydrocarbon petroleum.

Over time, humans realized the importance of this fuel, and we started to collect it. Later, this field became an industry with a designated name and managing setup. Whenever a piece of land showed signs of oil stores, its value multiplied a thousand-fold. Right now, many countries have fully established petroleum factories. Here’s a chart to understand which countries have the most oil stores.

Rank Country Petroleum Reserves 

(Billions of Barrels)

1 Saudi Arabia 261.9
2 Canada 178.8
3 Iran 125.5
4 Iraq 115.0
5 Kuwait 101.5
6 UAE 97.8
7 Venezuela 77.2
8 Russia 69.0
9 Libya 39.0
10 Nigeria 35.6

(As of January 2012)

There is so much oil stored inside our earth. For decades, these countries are supplying fuel to the entire world. No engine can operate without energy, and this energy is provided by the fuel, which is imported from the places mentioned above. 

The unique thing about petroleum is the fact it is all-natural. And sadly, there is no replacement for it. So, if we use up the reserves completely, we will run out of oil. And unless we come up with alternative fuel, the engines of every machine, from everyday cars to army jet planes, will become useless. 

FYI: Mankind has already consumed 44% of the world’s petroleum reserves. Unless fresh petroleum reserves are discovered, or alternative energy sources are harnessed on a large scale, the existing reserves will barely last a couple of decades. But with the advancement in technology, who knows, maybe we will come up with something new very soon.

Additional reading:

Oil reserves (Wikipedia)

Related posts: