Black gold and beyond: The top 10 oil exporters


The world runs on oil. From powering our vehicles to fuelling factories and generating electricity, this fossil fuel remains a critical driver of the global economy. The global crude oil market size is estimated as a staggering USD 3 trillion in 2023, highlighting the immense influence oil has on our world. But where does all this oil come from?

A select group of countries dominates the oil export market, and their production decisions have a ripple effect felt worldwide, impacting not only gas prices at the pump but also exciting opportunities for energy CFD (contract for difference) traders.

This guide delves into the world’s top 10 oil exporters, estimated for 2023, providing a glimpse into their production power and the factors that influence their output.

Saudi Arabia

The undisputed champion of oil exports, Saudi Arabia boasts the world’s second-largest proven oil reserves, estimated at around 270 billion barrels.  They are a founding member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a powerful group that influences global oil production quotas.

Any decision by Saudi Arabia regarding production levels, which averaged around 11 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2023, can send shockwaves through the oil market.


Another heavyweight contender, Russia holds the world’s eighth-largest proven oil reserves, estimated at around 80 billion barrels. It’s also a member of OPEC+, an alliance that includes non-OPEC members like Russia.

Russia’s average oil production in 2022 was around 10.7 million bpd. While overall exports remained steady in 2023, the EU embargo has shifted their focus to India and China, who now account for 90% of Russia’s seaborne crude exports. Political tensions remain a key factor for CFD traders to watch.

United States

The American story in oil has seen a dramatic shift. Thanks to advancements in shale oil extraction technology, the US has become a major oil exporter, rivalling traditional giants.

In 2023, a staggering 54.36% of US trade in oil, gasoline, and natural gas has been exports. This surge, with oil leading the way in exports for the first time in 50 years, has significantly impacted global oil prices and solidified the US as a major player in the energy market.


North America’s other oil powerhouse, Canada boasts vast reserves of shale oil, estimated at around 170 billion barrels. Similar to the US, technological advancements have fuelled a production boom.

Canadian exports of crude oil and equivalent products also reached a record high in 2023. Steadily rising since 2021, crude oil exports totalled 230.0 million cubic metres, up 3.2% from 2022. This export surge, coupled with global market conditions, significantly impacts global oil prices.


Iraq, an OPEC member, boasts significant oil reserves of around 145 billion barrels and is actively rebuilding its export capacity. In 2023, it emerged as a key player, exporting 1.23 billion barrels, a 5.36% increase from 2022, generating $87.6 billion in revenue.

Oil contributes approximately 96% to Iraq’s income, aiding in managing debts and budget deficits. Yet, Iraq’s production levels remain vulnerable to political and economic fluctuations, adding complexity to the oil market.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

A key player in the Middle East, the UAE maintains its position as a top oil exporter. The country’s oil reserves are around 107 billion barrels. In 2023, the UAE flexed its muscle by exporting over 140 million tonnes of crude oil, solidifying its role as a major supplier in the global market. 

As a major oil producer and OPEC member, UAE significantly impacts the global oil market through its high production volume and role in shaping production decisions.


A major power in the Persian Gulf, Kuwait is one of the world’s largest crude oil exporters, shipping a significant 1.92 million bpd to primarily Asian markets in 2023. This impressive export volume is fuelled by Kuwait’s vast oil reserves, estimated at around 130 billion barrels.

However, Kuwait’s oil exports are shifting slightly.  Due to the addition of new refining capacity, Kuwait is exporting a larger percentage of refined petroleum products and a slightly lower volume of crude oil.


Standing out from the OPEC crowd, Norway is a European oil giant with proven reserves estimated at around 8.3 billion barrels. Capitalising on high global oil prices, Norway exported nearly 93 million metric tons of petroleum and petroleum products in 2023. This represents the highest annual figure for Norway’s petroleum exports between 2013 and 2023.

Oil and gas continue to be the backbone of the Norwegian economy, making up a substantial 73 percent of the value of all goods exported from Norway in 2022.  While not a member of OPEC, Norway closely cooperates with the organisation to influence global oil production and pricing.


Africa’s undisputed champion of oil production, Nigeria boasts proven reserves of around 37 billion barrels. Crude oil is the lifeblood of the Nigerian economy, accounting for a staggering 81% of the country’s export value in 2023.

In 2023 alone, Nigeria raked in an estimated USD 25.4 billion from oil exports, highlighting the critical role this resource plays in fuelling the nation’s financial well-being.


A Central Asian oil producer with significant reserves, Kazakhstan exported roughly 1.43 million bpd in 2023. However, Kazakhstan faces a geographical challenge: a large portion of its oil exports, estimated at around 97%, rely on Russia’s pipeline network.

This dependence adds another layer of complexity to Kazakhstan’s oil industry, as any disruptions in Russia, like pipeline maintenance or political tensions, can significantly affect Kazakhstan’s ability to export its oil to the global market.

In conclusion, the top oil exporters play a critical role in the global oil market, directly impacting prices. By staying informed about these key players and the factors influencing their production, traders can leverage this knowledge to navigate the exciting world of oil CFD trading.

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