Energy Transition

Mapped: fossil fuel production by country

fossil-fuel-production-by-countries

Animated maps resize each country to highlight the size of their contribution in fossil fuel production. Image: REUTERS/Stringer

Jeff Desjardins
Founder and editor, Visual Capitalist
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Decarbonizing Energy

Fossil fuel production exists as a double-edged sword for most countries.

On one hand, they still make up a dominant piece of the current energy mix, and oil is still seen as a crucial resource for achieving geopolitical significance. It’s also no secret that fossil fuels are a driver for many economies around the world.

But with governments and corporations counting carbon emissions and mounting concerns about climate change, reliance on these same fuels will not last forever. As attitudes and policies evolve, they will continue to see a reduced role going forward.

Visualizing fossil fuels by country

So, which countries are pumping out the most hydrocarbons?

Today’s cartograms come from 911Metallurgist, and the animated maps resize each country based on their share of global fossil fuel production.

Below, you’ll see four cartograms that cover oil, gas, coal, and total fossil fuel production.

Crude oil production

The United States leads this category, producing about 18% of the world’s total oil:

fossil-fuel-production-Countries-producing-most
Fossil fuel production: Country wise production of total oil Image: Visual Capitalist

Although the U.S. is the number one producer globally, it should be noted that the country doesn’t have the same quantity of oil reserves as other leading nations.

Weirdly, Venezuela has the exact opposite problem. The country has the most oil reserves in the world, but currently only sits as its 12th biggest producer.

Natural gas production

In terms of gas, the U.S. leads again with a 20% share of global production. Russia is also a gas powerhouse, with a 17.3% share.

fossil-fuel-production-country-wise-contribution-towards-production-of-natural-gas
Fossil fuel production: Country wise contribution towards production of natural gas Image: Visual Capitalist

China’s current relationship with coal is an interesting one.

Every year, coal has become less important in China’s energy mix – in 2011 it represented 70% of energy consumption, and by 2018 it had fell to 59%.

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Despite this meaningful progress, China’s economy has grown so fast, that coal use has essentially held steady in absolute terms. Meanwhile, the country’s production of coal has actually grown slightly over the same timeframe.

Total fossil fuel production

Finally, here is the sum of all three above categories, converted to metric tonnes:

country-wise-contribution-towards-total-fossil-fuel-production
Country wise contribution towards total fossil fuel production Image: Visual Capitalist

The United States contributes 20% of all global fossil fuel production, with Russia and Iran rounding out the top three. After that comes Canada, which produces just under 5% of all fossil fuels globally.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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Energy TransitionClimate Action
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