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Robert Rapier

Robert Rapier

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The Ten Countries With The Greatest Fossil Fuel Production

Despite the rapid growth of renewable energy over the past decade, fossil fuels still dominate global energy consumption. According to BP’s recently-released Statistical Review of World Energy 2019, fossil fuels represented 84.7 percent of global energy consumption in 2018.

A few weeks ago I received a press kit on this topic. I usually receive several of these each week, most of which aren’t of enough relevance to share with readers. This one, I felt, was.

A company called 911 Metallurgist pulled together data from more than a dozen sources to created animated maps showing which countries currently produce the most oil, coal, and natural gas.

The graphics are consistent with my recent Review series, but they go into more detail by showing the Top 10 in each category, as well as for overall fossil fuel production. By expanding the rankings, some surprises were revealed in each category. (All graphics are used with permission).


Total oil production.

The U.S. was the world’s leading oil producer, which is consistent with my recent article detailing the Review’s findings on global oil production and consumption. The biggest surprise for some might be that China is one of the world’s Top 5 oil producers, ahead of all Middle Eastern countries except for Saudi Arabia.

Natural Gas 

Total natural gas production.

The U.S. was in first place here as well, consist with my previous report. Canada, China, and Norway were among the countries represented in the Top 10.


Total coal production.

China is by far the world’s leading producer of coal, with 46% of the global total in 2018. I think the biggest surprise in the Top 10 is the presence of Germany, which is widely considered to be one of the world’s “greenest” countries.

Total Fossil Fuel Production

Total fossil fuel production.

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, given its top spot in both oil and natural gas production, that the U.S. took the top spot overall. Russia in second place was also not a surprise, but Iran in third place will be a surprise to many.

It might also be a surprise that more Middle Eastern countries weren’t on the Top 10 list, but that countries like Canada, China, Norway, and Australia were all in the Top 10. Norway is perhaps the biggest surprise, because they only made the Top 10 in one category, coming in at No. 7 in natural gas production.

By Robert Rapier

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on July 20 2019 said:
    You made a lot of mistakes in your article and I will endeavour to point them out to you and the readers of your article.

    Total Oil Production

    Under this topic, you made two mistakes. The first is to claim that the United States is the world’s largest crude oil producer. The second is to claim that China is one of the world’s top 5 oil producers, ahead of all Middle Eastern countries except Saudi Arabia.

    The world’s largest crude oil producer is Russia at 11.20 million barrels a day (mbd) followed by the United States at 10.96 mbd and then Saudi Arabia at 10.53 mbd according to the authoritative 2019 OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin.

    However, if not for OPEC+ production cuts, Russia’s production would have been 11.48 mbd and Saudi Arabia’s Oil production would have been 11 mbd and would have taken the second place from the United States.

    China’s production is 3.798 mbd. It is neither ranked among the top 5 oil producers nor is it ahead of all Middle East oil producers with the exception of Saudi Arabia. It is ranked sixth among the top 10 oil producers as shown: Russia 11.2 mbd, USA 10.96, Saudi Arabia 10.53 mbd, Iraq 4.55 mbd, Canada 4.30 mbd, China 3.79 mbd, Iran 3.55 mbd, UAE 3.00 mbd, Kuwait 2.737 mbd and Brazil 2.587 mbd.

    Among Middle Eastern oil producers other than Saudi Arabia, Iraq’s oil production is ahead of China’ by miles.

    Total Fossil Fuel Production (Oil, Gas & Coal)

    Again you are wrong to claim that the US took the top spot overall in total fossil fuel production. China was number one in the world at 2791 million tonnes oil equivalent (mtoe) followed by the United States 1939 mtoe, India 741 mtoe, Russia 631 mtoe , Japan 399 mtoe. South Korea 265 mtoe, Iran 262 mtoe, Saudi Arabia 259 mtoe , Canada 224 mtoe and Germany 186 mtoe.

    Iran at 262 mtoe is ranked seventh among the top ten fossil fuel producers and not third as you claimed. Moreover, Russia is ranked fourth and not second.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • Lee James on July 21 2019 said:
    Fun, dynamic charts!

    The impression you get from today's oil and gas production is that the U.S. is sitting good.

    But what will these charts look like in just five years? I'm of the opinion that U.S. shale production has been guided less by profitability and "Wisdom of the Marketplace," and more by splashy production volumes coupled with commodity price hopes and expectations. Finally, investors are today returning to reality.

    We need to see good estimates of what these charts will look like in five years. Further, what do relative national oil and gas EXPORT figures look like? We in the U.S. largely produce just to keep up with our domestic appetites.

    What are the top ten renewable energy-producing nations? Are we afraid to see that countries like China are ahead of us, and some smaller countries like Scotland and Costa Rica actually have renewable energy surpluses that they can export?

    Finally -- and this question is directed to OilPrice's editorial Board -- which ten countries produce and acquire energy with the least geopolitical risk? Do oil revenues largely go to arming government? We will be hearing more about oil tanker grabs and geopolitical instability now that arms trade, realignment of nations, and might-makes-right has replaced negotiation and peaceful win-win trade agreement.

    Good luck to us all. . . I'm looking forward to seeing a hard look at present and looming challenges by Mr. Rapier, and OilPrice staff and contributors.

    I submit that we in the U.S. have our work cut out for us in light of domestic and world energy supply, climate change, and what nations do with export energy revenue.

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