Oil in the Persian Gulf

The Persian Gulf countries contain a significant percentage of the world's oil reserves and production capacity:

  • Proven oil reserves of 728 billion barrels, representing 55 percent of the world's oil reserves at the end of 2006 
  • Oil production capacity of 25.4 million barrels per day (33 percent of the world total) at the end of 2006 
  • Total oil production of 23.6 million barrels per day in 2006 
  • About 2.4 - 2.9 million barrels per day of excess oil production capacity, as of March 2007, of which 1.9 to 2.4 million barrel per day is located in Saudi Arabia [i] 

The Persian Gulf Region and Global Energy (as a % of global)

 new persian gulf percent world

Source: Energy Information Administration Short Term Energy Outlook (2006)

The Persian Gulf exports approximately 18.2 million barrels of oil per day; approximately 17 million barrels per day transit through the Strait of Hormuz in tankers. Additionally, over 3.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas, approximately 18 percent of world shipments, travel through the Strait via LNG tankers.[ii] There are few alternate routes for exporting Persian Gulf oil and gas, making the Strait of Hormuz an important chokepoint.

Persian Gulf oil is shipped east to Asia, primarily to Japan, China, and India, and west to Western Europe and the United States.

Europe North America Asia and Pacific Latin America Africa Middle East Total World
IRAN 1,084 0 1,605 0 149 0 2,839
IRAQ 371 664 446 0 0 0 1,481
KUWAIT 317 154 1,956 0 46 0 2,473
QATAR 0 3 699 0 0 0 701
SAUDI ARABIA 1,163 1,501 4,721 85 340 497 8,307
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 78 9 2,741 0 44 0 2,873

Source: OPEC flows of Crude and Refined Oil, 2006, http://www.opec.org/library/Annual%20Statistical%20Bulletin/interactive/FileZ/Flowbot.htm

[i] Energy Information Administration, Country Analysis Briefs: Persian Gulf Region (June 2007). Online. Available: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Persian_Gulf/pdf.pdf. Accessed: February 10, 2008.

[ii] Energy Information Administration, Country Analysis Briefs: Persian Gulf Region (June 2007). Online. Available: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Persian_Gulf/pdf.pdf. Accessed: February 10, 2008.

This page last modified in August 2008