Asia accounted for almost 10% of the world's oil production in 2018.  The region was led by China and India, the world's fifth and tenth biggest oil-producing nations, respectively. In recent years, Asia's share of world oil production has been on a slow but steady decline. This is primarily a consequence of flat regional oil production during a period of rising overall global output. However, demand continues unabated, as the Asia Pacific region consumes roughly 36% of the world's oil, getting 36 million barrels per day.

After reaching peak production levels in 2015, Asian oil output has declined 5% to 7.9 million barrels per day through 2018, according to the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers. While a number of countries in the region have discovered large new reserves, others face declining production from aging oil fields. Consequently, analysts expect production trends to continue for the region as a whole.

1. China

China is the biggest oil producer in the region by a substantial margin, accounting for nearly 5 million barrels of oil per day. It is responsible for almost half of Asia's total production and announced in 2019 that it would increase capital investment in oil production by 20%. China hopes to increase its output by 50% to 6 million barrels per day by 2025 to become more energy independent, as the country imports over 13 million barrels per day to meet domestic demand.

Key Takeaways

  • The biggest oil producers in Asia are China, India, and Indonesia.
  • China accounts for almost half of the total production in Asia and imports additional oil to meet domestic demand.
  • Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam are also among the largest oil producers in Asia.
  • Overall oil production in the Asia Pacific is declining because new discoveries are not enough to offset the lost output from aging oilfields.
  • Demand remains strong, however, with the Asia Pacific consuming 35% of the world's oil production.

The oil industry in China is led by several of the largest energy companies in the world: China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, known as Sinopec; China National Offshore Oil Corporation, or CNOOC; and PetroChina. These three companies combine to produce more than two-thirds of the country's total annual production.

2. India

India accounts for production of about 2.5 million barrels per day. While production growth has steadied in recent years, oil consumption in India continues to grow by leaps and bounds. India ranks as the third-largest oil importer in the world after U.S. and China.

Oil production in India is dominated by the state-owned enterprise, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, which accounted for roughly 75% of domestic production. Cairn India Limited, the Indian subsidiary of the British oil and gas company, Cairn Energy PLC, is the second-largest contributor to India's oil market.

3. Indonesia

Indonesia comes in behind India with the production of about 835,000 barrels per day. In the 1990s, when production was at a high, Indonesia produced between 1.5 million and 1.7 million barrels per day. Since that period, however, production has followed a nearly unbroken downward trend to the current level. In 2009, the combination of declining production in aging oil fields along with rising domestic demand compelled Indonesia to exit the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), of which it had been a member since 1962. It rejoined only to leave again in 2016.

PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia, a subsidiary of the American energy giant Chevron Corporation, is Indonesia's biggest oil producer, accounting for an estimated 40% of production, while Indonesia's state-owned energy company, PT Pertamina, is responsible for an additional 25%. Foreign oil companies including Total SA, ConocoPhillips, and CNOOC are also significant producers in the region.

4. Malaysia

Malaysia produces about 661,000 barrels of oil per day, most of which is extracted from offshore fields. Over the course of more than two decades since 1991, production in the country fluctuated between 650,000 and 850,000 barrels per day. According to the Energy Information Association, the recent downward production trends can be attributed largely to declining output at aging oil fields. The Malaysian government is responding by encouraging investment in recovery technology and new field development.

Petroliam Nasional Berhad, also known as Petronas, is Malaysia's state-owned energy corporation. It controls all oil and gas resources in the country and is responsible for development of those assets. International integrated oil and gas companies, such as Exxon Mobil Corporation, Murphy Oil Corporation, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, are involved with Petronas in oil production activities in Malaysia, including partnerships in enhanced oil recovery projects at aging oil fields.

5. Vietnam

Vietnam has maintained oil production volumes between 300,000 and 400,000 barrels per day since 2000 and daily production in 2018 amounted to just over 300,000 barrels. In 2011, offshore exploration and drilling activities raised Vietnam's proven oil reserves from 600 million barrels to 4.4 billion barrels, rocketing it into third place in Asia after China and India. Industry analysts expect further discoveries as exploration of Vietnam's offshore waters continues.

80.5 Million

The number of barrels of oil produced each day globally.

Vietnam's state-owned oil and gas company, PetroVietnam Gas Joint Stock Corporation, is involved in all oil production in Vietnam via its production subsidiary, PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation, and its joint ventures with international oil companies. Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and the Russian company, Zarubezhneft OAO, are several of the largest international producers operating in Vietnam.

6. Thailand

Oil production in Thailand has been steady around 250,000 barrels daily for the past decade. However, when it began oil production in 1980, the country generated only 1,300 barrels per day. Despite this growth, Thailand must import large quantities of oil to meet domestic demand.

Chevron is the main oil producer in Thailand. It operates Thailand's largest oil field, Benjamas, and has investments in many other important production sites in the country. Thailand's state-owned oil company, PTT Exploration and Production, is the country's second-largest oil producer. Other international companies involved in oil production in Thailand include Coastal Energy Company and Salamander Energy PLC.