Where in the World Is Oil Found?

Crude oil is found on every continent. The largest producers of oil are Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United States and China, but oil is found also in South American countries, Australia and even Antarctica.

The largest single producer of oil as of 2010 is Saudi Arabia, which produced 10,521 thousand barrels per year. The second-largest producer is Russia, which produced 10,146 thousand barrels, and the United States comes in third in terms of oil production, ringing in at 9,688 thousand barrels. Several Middle Eastern countries are large producers of oil, including Iran, Iraq and Kuwait. South American nations including Venezuela and Brazil are also known for oil production.

Australia is not known for its oil industry, but there are large oil reserves found along the North West Shelf. Much of the oil harvested in this region is used within Australia, but some is exported to Asian customers.

Antarctica is the only continent of the seven that is not inhabited by humans, but several nations have attempted to lay claim to territory in Antarctica, probably because of the vast amounts of oil believed to lie beneath its surface. Some experts believe there may be as many as 200 billion barrels of oil located on Antarctica. However, the Antarctica Treaty, which prohibits land claims in Antarctica until 2048, makes it difficult to access or lay claim to this oil.