Fossil fuels


The map shows the amount of oil available in different countries.

World energy production in 2002

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is responsible for 40 per cent of the world’s oil production.

The organisation was founded in Baghdad in 1960. There are currently 12 member countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Venezuela and Nigeria.

World oil production is partially decided by these countries, limiting how many barrels can be produced per day.

Many countries outside OPEC are major oil producers, notably the USA, Russia and China.

According to the IEA, production outside the world’s traditional oil-rich nations has increased rapidly during the past few years, rising to nearly half of total global output. However the top ten oil producing countries still accounted for nearly 56 per cent of the world’s oil production in June 2014, as the table below shows.

RankCountryDaily output (millions of barrels)Percentage of global production
2Saudi Arabia9.810.5%
4China4.2 4.5%
7Iran2.8 3.1%
9United Arab Emirates2.72.9%

Increasing production in the USA

The figure for the USA is lower than normal due to the closure of a pipeline in Alaska. Generally the USA is now the world’s biggest oil producer, pumping over 11 million barrels per day. It has also been the world’s biggest producer of natural gas since 2010.

This increase in production is due to new drilling techniques, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, 'fracking', which have unlocked vast quantities of oil and gas from shale rock formations, especially in North Dakota and Texas.

Russian industry has lagged behind the USA in its embrace of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to exploit its oil and gas reserves.


Coal provides around 30 per cent of global primary energy needs, generates 41 per cent of the world's electricity and is used in the production of 70 per cent of the world's steel.

The graph shows coal production per million of tonnes in different countries.

Y axis Coal produced (millions of tonnes). X axis Country. China 3550, USA 950, India 600, Indonesia 440, Australia 410, Russia 375, South Africa 275, Germany 200, Poland 175 and Kazakhstan 150.

Natural gas

Global natural gas production has increased at an annual rate of 5.3 per cent since 2000, while crude oil’s comparable growth rate has been 1.0 per cent.

Gas has a 21 per cent share in the global primary energy mix, behind oil and coal.