Amounting to 6% of the worldwide value of all export products, global crude oil shipments totaled an estimated US$1.147 trillion for 2018. That dollar figure reflects a -18.8% decline since 2014 but a 34.3% increase from 2017 to 2018.
Crude oil was the world’s number one export product in 2018, outpacing exports of refined petroleum oils in second-place then cars as the third-most valuable exported commodity on the planet.
Middle Eastern countries continued to generate the highest dollar value worth of crude oil exports during 2018 with shipments valued at $486.3 billion or 42.4% of globally exported crude oil.
At the pure continent level, almost half of unprocessed petroleum oil came from countries in Asia (48.6%). Europe supplied 17.9% of the overall total, followed by Africa at 14% and North American nations at 12.3%. Smaller percentages came from Latin America (6.6%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean then Oceania (0.6%) led by Australia.
For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for crude oil is 2709.
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of crude oil during 2018.
- Saudi Arabia: US$182.5 billion (15.9% of total crude oil exports)
- Russia: $129 billion (11.3%)
- Iraq: $91.1 billion (7.9%)
- Canada: $66.9 billion (5.8%)
- United Arab Emirates: $66.8 billion (5.8%)
- Kuwait: $49.8 billion (4.3%)
- United States: $47.2 billion (4.1%)
- Iran: $45.7 billion (4%)
- Nigeria: $43.6 billion (3.8%)
- Angola: $38.4 billion (3.4%)
- Kazakhstan: $37.8 billion (3.3%)
- Norway: $33.3 billion (2.9%)
- Libya: $26.7 billion (2.3%)
- Mexico: $26.5 billion (2.3%)
- Venezuela: $26.4 billion (2.3%)
By value, the listed 15 countries accounted for 79.5% of all crude oil exports in 2018.
Among the above countries, four top exporters increased their international crude oil sales since 2014 namely United States (up 283.4%), Libya (up 68.6%), Iran (up 17.2%) then Iraq (up 8.3%).
Leading crude oil exporters posted declines in their global crude oil sales were led by: Venezuela (down -51%), Nigeria (down -39.8%), Angola (down -31.9%), Kazakhstan (down -29.5%) then Kuwait (down -28.2%).
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for crude oil during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s crude oil exports and its import purchases for that same commodity.
- Saudi Arabia: US$182.5 billion (net export surplus down -27.1% since 2014)
- Russia: $129 billion (down -16%)
- Iraq: $91.1 billion (up 8.3%)
- United Arab Emirates: $65.8 billion (down -8.6%)
- Canada: $52.7 billion (down -20.9%)
- Kuwait: $49.8 billion (down -28.2%)
- Iran: $45.7 billion (up 17.2%)
- Nigeria: $43.6 billion (down -39.8%)
- Angola: $38.4 billion (down -31.9%)
- Kazakhstan: $37.8 billion (down -29.3%)
- Norway: $31.6 billion (down -30.4%)
- Libya: $26.7 billion (up 68.6%)
- Mexico: $26.4 billion (down -25.9%)
- Venezuela: $26.4 billion (down -50.9%)
- Oman: $22.5 billion (down -35.5%)
Saudi Arabia had the highest surplus in the international trade of crude oil in 2018. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms Saudi’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for crude oil during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s crude oil import purchases and its exports for that same commodity.
- China: -US$238 billion (net export deficit up 4.5% since 2014)
- United States: -$115.9 billion (down -51.9%)
- India: -$114.5 billion (down -15.7%)
- Japan: -$80.6 billion (down -38.3%)
- South Korea: -$80.4 billion (down -15.4%)
- Germany: -$45 billion (down -31.5%)
- Netherlands: -$35.8 billion (down -24.7%)
- Spain: -$33.4 billion (down -19.5%)
- Italy: -$32.2 billion (down -15.5%)
- France: -$28.5 billion (down -26.7%)
- Singapore: -$27.9 billion (down -18.7%)
- Thailand: -$27.6 billion (down -15.9%)
- Taiwan: -$23.4 billion (down -27.2%)
- Belgium: -$18.5 billion (down -26.1%)
- Poland: -$14.4 billion (down -13.8%)
The People’s Republic of China incurred the highest amount of red ink trading crude oil on international markets in 2018. That negative cashflow highlights China’s strong competitive disadvantage for this specific product category. The other side of the coin is that these deficits signal opportunities for crude oil-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand, and also for entrepreneurs who develop alternative energy sources that can power industrial economies.
Crude Oil Exporting Companies
Based on the Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, the following oil and gas companies are among the top 100 largest companies in the world:
- Exxon Mobil (United States)
- PetroChina (China)
- Royal Dutch Shell (Netherlands)
- BP (United Kingdom)
- Chevron (United States)
- Gazprom (Russia)
- Total (France)
- Sinopec-China Petroleum (China)
- Petrobras (Brazil)
- Rosneft (Russia)
- Eni (Italy)
- Statoil (Norway)
- ConocoPhillips (United States)
- LukOil (Russia)
The above corporations are presented in the same order as they appear in Forbes listings. Shown within parentheses is the country where each conglomerate has its headquarters.