50 countries produce over 100,000 barrels of oil per day. But most of them, from Timor-Leste to America, will run dry in the next 30 years.
Only a few true petro powers have enough oil to keep up production through the end of the century and beyond.
Endless oil has various negative consequences, known as the resource curse. Symptoms include distorted economies, inefficiency, and an autocratic regime that isn’t afraid thumb its nose at America. These countries will be able to keep up the act for longer than most.
Barrels per day: 797,000
Proved reserves: 15,210,000,000
Key figure: Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, OPEC oil minister
Outlook: Qatar does well with relatively low oil production. Everyone in the small country gets rich and they protect the relatively low oil reserves. If limited global supply causes prices to rise, however, the OPEC member is bound to increase production. Earlier this month, oil minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah warded off fears of a supply shortage.
Barrels per day: 1,528,000
Proved reserves: 30,000,000,000
Key figure: President Nursultan Nazarbayev
Outlook: Drilling in the Caspian Sea oil fields could increase reserves by 40%. Development of long-delayed international contracts could increase production by 100%. Kazakhstan's oil horizon may become shorter, but nonetheless, they're in for a big, long boom.
Barrels per day: 1,875,000
Proved reserves: 43,660,000,000
Key figure: Muammar al-Gaddafi, dictator
Outlook: With Africa's highest oil reserves and more in unexplored regions, Libya has plenty of oil. Gaddafi's problem is production, as the unpredictable dictator has scared away foreign investors, and National Oil Company has been unable to meet its export targets.
Barrels per day: 10,780,000
Proved reserves: 266,700,000,000
Key figure: Ali al-Nuaimi, OPEC oil minister
Outlook: Saudi Arabia has the world's greatest oil reserves, but a heavy responsibility. As OPEC's swing producer, it exports enough to keep below $80 -- though the price target has informally crept higher. Now the desert-bound country faces rising costs for its growing population. Riyadh's solution is to invest in nuclear energy, freeing up more oil for export.
Barrels per day: 3,046,000
Proved reserves: 97,800,000,000
Key figure: Mohamed Al-Hamli, OPEC oil minister
Outlook: The only emirate that matters is Abu Dhabi, which holds 94% of proved reserves. All that oil is enough to fund theme parks and universities, as well as generous pensions, throughout the Emirates.
Barrels per day: 3,707,000
Proved reserves: 136,200,000,000
Key figure: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Outlook: Despite embargoes aimed to halt nuclear development, Iran is finding buyers for oil and sellers to fill its current gasoline shortage. Soon enough it will have enough refineries to provide its own gasoline. When nuclear power comes online, Iran will have that much power oil to export.
Barrels per day: 2,643,000
Proved reserves: 99,380,000,000
Key figure: President Hugo Chavez, OPEC member
Outlook: Venezuela is by all measures a failed petro state with vast inflation and a nationalized oil company that can't handle its own resources. But it has an incredible amount of oil -- enough for Hugo Chavez to keep rattling his saber for the rest of his life.
Barrels per day: 2,274,000
Proved reserves: 104,000,000,000
Key figure: Ahmad Abdullah al-Sabah, OPEC oil minister
Outlook: Sheikh Ahmad recently reasserted his commitment to keeping oil between 75-90 dollars a barrel. With infrastructure on the way to increase production capacity to 4 million bbl/day, Kuwait will have no problem keeping oil cheap and ready. By the time they run out of black gold, the ruling family and 3.5 million citizens will have a fortune locked away in diversified investments.
Barrels per day: 2,420,000
Proved reserves: 115,000,000,000
Key figure: TBA
Outlook: Iraq has the world's fourth largest oil reserves, and they're relatively untouched thanks to years of war and turmoil. If Iraq settles down and starts production, it could match Saudi Arabia for exports.
Barrels per day: 3,350,000
Proved reserves: 178,100,000,000
Key figure: Ron Liepert, Alberta Energy Minister
Outlook: With oil reserves second only to Saudi Arabia, and a huge market just south of the border, Canada is set for life. The main obstacle is environmentalists that oppose drilling in the Alberta's oil sands motherload. But assuming the Avatar movement fails, Canada is heading toward petro-state status, economic distortion, and a revenue windfall.
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