The number one exported product in the world is oil. In 2019 (the latest year for which full data is currently available), this commodity accounted for more than 1.3% of the total global GDP. That year, worldwide crude oil production reached 4.5 billion metric tons.
Saudi Arabia has historically led the world in monthly oil exports, but as a result of a spike in shale production and a policy of energy independence, the United States has become the world's top oil exporter, although it remains to be seen if American oil can maintain the top position
While world-level data is only available for 2019, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has compiled a definitive list of top oil-exporting countries for the year 2020. These countries account for more than two-thirds of total global oil exports.
- Oil is the leading exported product in the world, as of 2019, accounting for 1.3% of global gross domestic product (GDP).
- Since 2019, the U.S. has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the top oil exporter in the world, owed in large part to shale oil production.
- Russia, Iraq, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iran, the United States, Nigeria, and Kazakhstan make up the rest of the top ten.
1. United States
Located in the Northern Hemisphere and bordered by Mexico and Canada, the United States is now the largest oil-exporting nation in the world. The U.S. exported 18.6 billion barrels of oil per day, on average, in 2020, or 20% of global exports. The country has posted an increase of close to 500% in its international sales of crude oil since 2014, according to recent statistics.
2. Saudi Arabia
Officially known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the country of Saudi Arabia had long been the world's number one oil exporter. Formed in 1932, Saudi Arabia was responsible for 12% of global oil exports in 2020. 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% of global oil exports. In geographical size comparison, Russia is twice as large as the entire United States.
The northernmost nation in North America, Canada is the world's fourth-largest exporter of oil. In 2020, the country exported 6% of the global supply. Due to the size of its expansive Athabasca oil sands, it is estimated that Canada still holds more than 10% of the world's oil reserves.
Crude oil was the world's top exported product in 2019.
While not especially known for its oil production capacity, China has ramped oil its petroleum exports, making the #5 position for 2020. The country sold an average of 4.93 million barrels of oil per day in that year, or 5% of total exports.
Initially formed in 1932, Iraq was once among the world's top three exporters of oil. In 2020, Iraq fell to sixth place, accounting for 4% of global exports. Located in the Middle East, Iraq is comparable in size to California.
7. United Arab Emirates
Number seven on the list is the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Located on the Arabian peninsula, the UAE is approximately the size of South Carolina. In 2020, the UAE around 4% of the world's total oil exports.\
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.
Brazil accounts for oil production of about 3.8 million barrels per day and is the eighth-largest oil-producing country in the world. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), more than 90% of Brazil's oil production is extracted from deep-water oil fields offshore. In addition, Brazil has nearly 13 billion barrels in proven oil reserves, which is the second-largest in Latin America after Venezuela.
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 2020, exporting around 4% of the global total.
Given its small size, it is impressive that Kuwait is 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 2020, the country exported 3% of the world's total.