The ten countries in the world with the most proven oil reserves. Many countries may very well have more oil but these are the ten countries with the most recoverable oil.
These are the ten countries in the world with the most proven oil reserves. Proven oil reserves means that there is reasonable certainty of 90% or better that the oil estimated to be in any given country is there and can be recovered, produced and traded in international markets. Oil has made some of the countries on this list incredibly wealthy as money has poured into the countries in exchange for the black gold. To see the largest producers and consumers of oil see 10 Largest Oil Producing Countries in the World and 10 Largest Importers of Oil in the World.
Saudi Arabia - 264 billion barrels of proven oil reserves
Image Source (Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia)
By far the country with the largest proven oil reserves in the world is Saudi Arabia which is also the largest oil producing country in the world by a wide margin. Saudi Arabia has over 100 oil fields but the majority of its oil is contained in eight giant oil fields including the massive Ghawar Field which is the largest regular oil field in the world by far. Since the discovery of oil in this desert country money has continually flowed into Saudi Arabia as the oil has flowed out.
Canada - 178 billion barrels
Canada has the 2nd largest proven oil reserves in the world with 95% of those reserves contained in the Athabasca Oil Sands fields located in northern Alberta. Companies are now turning the oil sands in Canada into money as the technology involved has improved.
Iran - 138 billion barrels
Iran has the 3rd most oil in the world and is the 4th largest producer of oil in the world. Iran has enough oil in proven reserves to last almost 100 years at its current production level. With all that oil Iran is an important trading partner for many countries.
Iraq - 114 billion barrels
Currently Iraq has the 4th largest proven reserves of oil in the world but the Iraqis believe they could have up to 500 billion barrels of oil in reserves which would make Iraq the country with the most oil in the world. No one will know for sure if this is accurate though until the country can start producing oil at maximum levels and fund necessary research regarding oil reserves. Despite its massive oil reserves Iraq is only the 13th largest producer of oil in the world today.
Kuwait - 102 billion barrels
Most of Kuwait's oil lies in the Burgan Oil Field which is the 2nd largest conventional oil field in the world behind the Ghawar Field in nearby Saudi Arabia. Kuwait has been producing oil from its fields for over 60 years and some question the figure of 102 billion barrels of reserves but if that number is accurate and Kuwait maintains its current production level it would take 100 years to exhaust its oil reserves. Another country where money has flowed into as the oil flowed out.
Venezuela - 99 billion barrels
Image Source (Citgo is owned by Venezuela)
The estimate of oil in the country of Venezuela is difficult at best due to the political problems in the country and to the fact that like Canada Venezuela has large oil sand deposits in the Orinoco Tar Sands. Estimates of recoverable reserves of oil in the Orinoco Tar Sands alone ranges from 100 to 500 billion barrels of oil. Venezuela is not a stable trading partner at this time.
United Arab Emirates - 98 billion barrels
The United Arab Emirates has proven oil reserves of 98 billion barrels with most of that concentrated in the Zakum Oil Field which is the 3rd largest oil field in the Middle East. Because the Zakum Field is located in Abu Dhabi it is the emirate in the United Arab Emirates with the vast majority of the oil reserves.
Russia - 79 billion barrels
Russia is the largest country in the world and probably has significantly more oil reserves than 79 billion barrels but that is the proven reserves though estimates go as high as 200 billion barrels. International trade including oil keeps growing in Russia every year.
Libya - 46 billion barrels
Image Source (Tripoli)
Libya has oil reserves of 46 billion barrels but is just the 17th largest producer of oil in the world.
Nigeria - 36 billion barrels
Nigeria is the largest producer of oil on the continent of Africa and the 15th largest producer of oil in the world and has proven oil reserves of 36 billion barrels.
For more see 10 Largest Oil Producing Countries in the World
10 Largest Oil Importers in the World
Largest Economies in the World