Countries that Control the World's Oil
There is a lot of talk about which countries control the world's oil supplies. Over the years many wars have been fought over oil and this is likely to continue into the future. As long as our economy depends on oil controlling the supply will be of vital importance. In fact this is more true than ever because modern warfare requires so much oil. Access to oil is not just about national growth it is also about national security. Therefore it is important to know just who does control the world's supplies of oil.
The majority of the world's oil reserves are in Middle East and are controlled by OPEC, although how much oil they actually have is a subject of some dispute. There are some OPEC members in Africa and South America as well and combined they do produce about two thirds of the world's oil. This is far less than the produced forty years ago and it has limited their ability to control the world's oil supply. In recent years more nations have become major oil producers so while OPEC can have a major influence on things like the price of oil they no longer have control over it.
There are also some questions about just how much oil there actually is in the OPEC countries since there is no way to verify their oil reserve claims. In recent years they have continually raised their proven oil reserve numbers causing a lot of people to doubt that they actually have as much oil as the claim to have. While they are far and away the world's largest producers right now there are serious questions about how long that is going to last. There is a fear that they are making untrue claims in an attempt to increase the amount of political influence they have since it is well established that other countries will bend over backwards to accommodate countries that have oil.
The world's second largest oil reserves are actually outside of OPEC and they belong to Canada. Although Canada has large reserves they currently trail far behind in terms of production. This is because the vast majority of Canada's oil reserves are in the form of oil sands which are far more costly to extract. The result has been that Canada has only recently started to produce the oil that it has available in the oil sands because it only makes economic sense when the price of oil is high enough. Nevertheless Canada is one of the few countries in the world that has increased its oil production in recent years.
These days it really isn't accurate to refer to countries that control the world's oil mainly because production is spread out amongst a number of countries. In the future this will likely be even more true as things like high oil prices; climate change and better technology make even more of the world's oil supplies accessible.