The number one exported product in the world is oil. In 2018, the commodity accounted for 5.9% of the global value of all exported products. That year, crude oil shipments in aggregate were worth $1.113 trillion, according to the latest available data.
Briefly, in June, the U.S. eclipsed Saudi Arabia in monthly oil exports (as a result of a spike in shale production) before ceding the top spot to the longtime leader. Currently, the U.S. places third after Saudi Arabia and Russia, in terms of annual oil exports by country. However, the U.S. is expected to take over the runner-up spot from Russia, placing second in a list of all exporters on an annual basis by 2024, according to forecasts from the International Energy Agency.
Below is a list of the top 10 oil-exporting countries based on data for all of 2018. These countries account for two-thirds of total global oil exports.
- Oil is the leading exported product in the world, as of 2018, accounting for 5.9% of all exported products.
- Saudi Arabia leads the list, responsible for 16.1% of global oil exports in 2018, for a total of $182.5 billion in value.
- Russia is second on the list, responsible for 11.4% of global oil exports, for a value of more than $129 billion.
- Iraq, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iran, the United States, Nigeria, and Kazakhstan make up the rest of the top ten.
1. Saudi Arabia
Officially known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the country of Saudi Arabia is the world's number one oil exporter and the country with the largest amount of oil reserves. Formed in 1932, the country was responsible for 16.1% of global oil exports in 2018, totaling $182.5 billion in value. The country is located on the Arab peninsula and is comparable in size to Alaska.
The massive, transcontinental country of Russia is the world's second-largest oil exporter. In 2018, Russia's oil exports accounted for 11.4% of global oil exports, exceeding a value of $129 billion. As a size comparison, Russia is twice as large as the entire United States.
Initially formed in 1932, Iraq is the world's third-largest exporter of oil. In 2018, Iraq exported $91.7 billion worth of the commodity, which accounts for 8.7% of global exports. Located in the Middle East, Iraq is comparable in size to California.
Crude oil was the world's top export product in 2018.
The northernmost nation in North America, Canada is the world's fourth-largest exporter of oil. In 2018, the country exported $66.9 billion worth of the commodity, or 5.9%. Due to the size of the Athabasca oil sands, it is estimated that Canada has more than 10% of the world's oil reserves.
5. United Arab Emirates
Number five on the list is the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Located on the Arabian peninsula, the UAE is approximately the size of South Carolina. In 2018, the UAE exported 5.2% of the world's total oil exports, accounting for $58.4 billion.
At $1.113 trillion, global crude oil shipments in 2018 were up 34% versus the previous year, according to the latest statistics; however, that number still represents a decline of more than 19% from 2014 levels.
Given its small size, it is impressive that Kuwait is number six on the list of the world's top oil exporters. The country, established in 1752 and located in the Arabian peninsula, is about the size of Connecticut. In 2018, the country exported $51.7 billion worth of oil, or 4.6% of the world's total.
Iran is the second-largest country by land area in the Middle East, and about twice the size of Texas. It is seventh on the list in 2018, exporting $50.8 billion worth of oil for a share of 4.5% of the global total.
8. United States
Located in the Northern Hemisphere and bordered by Mexico and Canada, the United States is the third-largest nation in the world. It is also the eighth-biggest exporter on the list. The U.S. exported $48.3 billion of the world's total oil in 2018 for a share of 4.3% of the worldwide total. The country has posted an increase of close to 300% in its international sales of crude oil since 2014, according to recent statistics.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria, located on the western bend of the African continent is the world's ninth-largest exporter of oil. The republic was declared in 1960 and has since become a nation with a $375.8 billion gross domestic product (GDP). Nigeria exported 3.8% of the world's total in 2018 with a value of $43.6 billion. Based on land size, the country is comparable to Texas.
As of 2024, the currently No. 8 ranked United States is expected to claim the No. 2 spot among oil exporters by country, according to forecasts from the International Energy Agency.
The Republic of Kazakhstan in northern central Asia is the 10th-largest exporter of oil in the world. The nation was formed in December 1991 after gaining independence from the Soviet Union. Based on land size, it is about twice the size of Alaska. In 2018, the country was responsible for 3.3% of the world's oil exports, worth about $37.8 billion.