Economic Growth

Which economies are most reliant on oil?

Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reacts upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 24, 2015.

These are the countries that depend most on oil income. Image: REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

Rosamond Hutt
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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Saudi Arabia has said it wants to end its "addiction to oil" with far-reaching reforms, and is now restructuring government departments to drive through plans for a post-petroleum era.

This seismic shake-up has come on the back of the steep and sustained drop in oil prices – from a peak of $115 per barrel in June 2014 to under $35 at the end of February 2016 – and marks a massive change of direction for the world's largest petroleum exporter, also the de facto leader of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries).

 oil prices
Image: Bloomberg

Under the programme, called Vision 2030, the kingdom would be prepared for a future that is less dependent on falling oil revenue over the next decade and a half.

The reforms, announced at the end of April by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, include creating the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, privatizing the state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco, cutting energy subsidies, expanding investment and improving government efficiency.

Prince Mohammed told al-Arabiya television news channel: “We have developed a case of oil addiction in Saudi Arabia.”

While the kingdom’s coffers have been badly hit by low oil prices – the petroleum sector accounts for roughly 45% of GDP and 90% of export earnings – there are other “oil-addicted” countries that are faring worse.

Here’s a look at which countries around the world are most reliant on oil both as an export and as a share of GDP.

The economies that depend on oil

This chart shows countries by their dependence on exports of fuel commodities, which include natural gas and coal, as well as oil and oil products. Saudi Arabia is ranked 11th. Countries where fuel accounts for more than 90% of total exports include Algeria, Azerbaijan, Brunei Darussalam, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Sudan and Venezuela.

 Fuel exports as a percentage of merchandise exports, 2013
Image: Bruegel

For an idea of which economies rely most heavily on oil, this chart using 2012 World Bank data shows oil revenue as a share of GDP. Saudi Arabia comes third, after Kuwait and Libya, with roughly 45% GDP depending on oil.

Countries that are most dependent on oil to fuel growth
Image: CNBC
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