Global oil reserves - share of leading countries 2018

Venezuela leads with the highest distribution of global oil reserves, at approximately 17.5 percent in 2018, followed closely by Saudi Arabia. Canada has the third-largest share of oil reserves worldwide, at just under 10 percent, primarily found in oil sands, as in Venezuela.

Large reserves in OPEC nations

The majority of countries with the largest oil reserves are members of OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries founded in 1960. Now comprised of 14 member states, OPEC holds nearly 80 percent of crude oil reserves worldwide. Most OPEC countries are in the Middle East, the region with the largest oil reserves, holding nearly half the global share.

Oil sands contribute to growing reserves

As one of the five founding members of OPEC in 1960, Venezuela has long been an oil-producing country with heavy economic reliance on oil exports. However, in 2011, Venezuela’s energy and oil ministry announced an unprecedented increase in proven oil reserves as oil sands in the Oronoco Belt territory were certified. As a result, South and Central America’s proven oil reserves more than doubled between 2008 and 2011.

Distribution of global oil reserves in 2018, by country

Share of global oil reserves
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Release date

June 2019



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

Proven oil reserves are, according to the source, general quantities that could be extracted in future under existing geological, engineering, economic and operating conditions. Reserves include gas condensate and natural gas liquids (NGLs) as well as crude oil.

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