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10 Huge Countries Without Their Own Oil

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The world’s 1.635 trillion barrels of proved oil reserves are not evenly distributed among the globe’s 216 nations. Just three — Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Canada — account for nearly a third of the total.There are far more countries with no or very little oil than those countries with deposits that can be developed and used internally or exported. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), of the world’s 216 nations only 99 have any oil reserves at all. And only about 40 nations have proved reserves totaling more than a tiny 1 billion barrels.Global consumption of crude oil grew from around 83.2 million barrels a day to 90.4 million in the 10-years from 2004 to 2013, according to the EIA. With the exceptions of 2008 and 2009, when the global financial crisis stifled economic growth in much of the world, oil consumption has been rising, but about 65% of the increase is from the developing economies of China and India. China consumed about 6.44 million barrels a day in 2004 and 10.12 million barrels a day in 2013, while India added about a million barrels a day of consumption in the same period.

About 80% of world oil consumption is attributable to transportation by road, rail, sea and air. As a transportation fuel, products derived from oil are difficult to replace due to their high energy content, their transportability and their relative safety.

As a fuel for generating electricity, oil’s role has largely been relegated to one of meeting peak demand for short periods, but there are some exceptions. Saudi Arabia, for instance, currently generates 100% its electricity by burning oil or natural gas. Japan, following its nuclear disaster in 2011, is another temporary exception.

Among many developed countries, oil consumption is falling, due in part to slow economic growth that tamps down demand for crude. Another contributor to slowing demand is more fuel-efficient motor vehicles. As for future demand projections, it is too early to know how much of the decline in consumption is due to structural changes like more fuel-efficient vehicles and how much to a weak global economy. The answer to those questions will indicate both the direction and the strength of crude oil demand in the years to come.

We have looked at 10 rich countries as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) that lack any significant amount of proved oil reserves. Data on GDP are drawn from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook October 2014 and the CIA World Factbook, while information on oil reserves and electricity generation comes from the EIA and data on consumption was taken from the 2014 edition of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

Combined, the 10 nations on this list have about 1.67 billion barrels of proved reserves, enough to meet U.S. demand for about three months or global demand for a little more than two weeks. For all intents and purposes, that amounts to no oil.

10. Sweden
> GDP rank: 22nd largest
> 2014 GDP (est.): $559 billion
> Proved oil reserves: none
> Oil consumption (2013): 305 million barrels a day
> Percentage of global total daily consumption: 0.3%

Sweden, though not a member of the euro system, depends on the eurozone as the largest customer for its exported goods. The financial crisis and its aftermath hit the country hard, sending it into recession until 2010 and cutting GDP growth to less than 1% in 2013. Oil consumption fell 6% between 2009 and 2013. Electricity generation from fossil fuels accounted for 13% of the nation’s total in 2010, while nearly half comes from hydroelectric plants and another quarter comes from nuclear generation. So, its lack of crude has caused it to turn to other sources for energy.

9. Switzerland
> GDP rank: 20th largest
> 2014 GDP (est.): $679 billion
> Proved oil reserves: none
> Oil consumption (2013): 249,000 barrels a day
> Percentage of global total daily consumption: 0.3%

Switzerland fell into recession in 2008, along with nearly every other developed country, but started a recovery in 2010 based on a zero-interest rate policy that has forced the Swiss National Bank to intervene to prevent the Swiss franc from rising and pricing Swiss exports too high to be competitive. GDP growth was about 2% in 2013. Oil consumption is up about 1.4% since 2009. More than two-thirds of the country’s electricity is generated from hydroelectric plants and another 24% is generated from nuclear plants. Electricity generation from fossil fuels accounts for just 3.1% of the country’s power, while renewables account for 5.5%.

8. Turkey
> GDP rank: 18th largest
> 2014 GDP (est.): $813.3 billion
> Proved oil reserves: 295 million barrels
> Oil consumption (2013): 714,000 barrels a day
> Percentage of global total daily consumption: 0.8%

Turkey weathered the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 well, returning to strong growth of around 9% in 2010 and 2011. Since then annual growth has moderated to around 3% to 4%, mainly on the strength of the country’s exports. A number of pipelines crisscross Turkey, transporting oil and gas supplies to Europe and to Turkish ports, where it is loaded on ships bound primarily for Asia. Since 2009, oil consumption has declined by 7.7%. Turkey generates nearly two-thirds of its electricity from fossil fuels and the rest from hydroelectric plants.

7. Netherlands
> GDP rank: 16th largest
> 2014 GDP (est.): $808.4 billion
> Proved oil reserves: 302 million barrels
> Oil consumption (2013): 898,000 barrels a day
> Percentage of global total daily consumption: 1.0%

The Netherlands nationalized two banks and injected billions of euros into other financial institutions in 2008 to stave off a collapse of the country’s financial system. The government implemented an economic stimulus package that increased the national debt to a level that the government could not handle, which resulted in the adoption of austerity measures that led to an estimated 0.8% contraction in the overall economy in 2013. Oil consumption has dropped about 1.8% since 2009. Fossil fuels account for 85% of the country’s electricity generation.

6. Spain
> GDP rank: 14th largest
> 2014 GDP (est.): $1.4 trillion
> Proved oil reserves: 150 million barrels
> Oil consumption (2013): 1.2 million barrels a day
> Percentage of global total daily consumption: 1.4%

Spain’s economy went into free fall when real estate values plummeted in 2008. The country came out of a second recession in 2013, and the economy has grown on the strength of domestic demand. Spain’s central bank recently raised its estimate of GDP growth from 1.9% to 2.0%. Unemployment remains a huge problem, with a jobless rate of 23.7% at the end of July. Between 2009 and 2013, Spain’s oil consumption dropped nearly 18%, the most of any country on this list. Nearly 50% of the country’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels and slightly more than 25% is generated from renewable sources.

5. South Korea
> GDP rank: 13th largest
> 2014 GDP (est.): $1.45 trillion
> Proved oil reserves: none
> Oil consumption (2013): 2.46 million barrels a day
> Percentage of global total daily consumption: 2.6%

Earlier this month, South Korea’s government cut its economic growth forecast for 2014 from 3.7% to 3.4% and lowered its forecast for 2015 growth from 4.0% to 3.8%. For a country that must import every gallon of oil it consumes, falling crude oil prices are a significant benefit. At $90 a barrel, importing 2.5 million barrels a day costs the country about $82 billion a year; at $65 the total drops to around $59 billion. The country’s oil consumption has risen 6.2% since 2009. South Korea generates 75% of its electricity from fossil fuels.

4. Italy
> GDP rank: eighth largest
> 2014 GDP (est.): $2.13 trillion
> Proved oil reserves: 560 million barrels
> Oil consumption (2013): 1.308 million barrels a day
> Percentage of global total daily consumption: 1.5%

Italy’s economy is in recession for the third time since 2008, after third-quarter GDP fell 0.5%, marking the 13th consecutive quarter that GDP has failed to rise. The country’s debt rating was just lowered to one notch above junk at S&P, but the ratings agency thinks the country will see a modest recovery next year. The country consumed about 15% less oil in 2013 than in 2009. Italy generates 65% of its electricity from fossil fuels and 16% from renewables, with hydroelectric generation accounting for the rest.

3. France
> GDP rank: fifth largest
> 2014 GDP (est.): $2.9 trillion
> Proved oil reserves: 90 million barrels
> Oil consumption (2013): 1.683 million barrels a day
> Percentage of global total daily consumption: 1.9%

The French economy is expected to grow just 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2014, and even with help from low oil prices and a weak euro, real GDP growth for 2014 is forecast at 0.4%. The forecast for the first half of 2015 is just 0.3%. France may benefit less from low oil prices because so much of its energy is via nuclear generation, which lowers demand for heating oil. About 80% of the country’s economy is service-oriented, so demand for fuel to move goods around is limited. Since 2009, France has reduced consumption by 5.4%. Just 22% of the country’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels, while nearly 51% comes from nuclear power plants.

2. Germany
> GDP rank: fourth largest
> 2014 GDP (est.): $3.82 trillion
> Proved oil reserves: 232 million barrels
> Oil consumption (2013): 2.382 million barrels a day
> Percentage of global total daily consumption: 2.7%

Germany, like nearly every other Western European nation, has been teetering on the edge of another recession. This may be avoided in part because crude oil prices have dropped and the stronger dollar has made the country’s manufactured goods more appealing. Economic growth in the country has been forecast to rise 1% in 2015, better than this year’s expected growth, but still slow by historical standards. German crude oil consumption has dropped by about 1.3% since 2009. Slightly more than half of German electricity generation is produced from fossil fuels and a whopping 36% comes from renewable sources.

1. Japan
> GDP rank: third largest
> 2014 GDP (est.): $4.77 trillion
> Proved oil reserves: 44 million barrels
> Oil consumption (2013): 4.551 million barrels a day
> Percentage of global total daily consumption: 5.0%

Japan ranks only behind the United States and China in both GDP and daily consumption of oil, but its proved reserves are essentially zero, compared with U.S. reserves of nearly 31 billion barrels and Chinese reserves of about 24.5 billion barrels. The amount of oil Japan consumes has dropped by about 150,000 barrels a day, compared with 2012 when the country burned more oil to generate electricity following the nuclear disaster in 2011. The country consumed about 3.9% more oil in 2013 than in 2009. Virtually every barrel is imported. In 2012 oil generated 47% of the country’s electricity, a large amount but down from 80% in the 1970s. Coal and natural gas account for another 47% of generation. Nuclear generation has dropped from 26% to around 1% since 2011.

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29 Comments on "10 Huge Countries Without Their Own Oil"

  1. penury on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 9:41 am 

    A group of lovely figures. But what if anything is it supposed to mean?

  2. ghung on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 10:20 am 

    “10. Sweden
    > GDP rank: 22nd largest
    > 2014 GDP (est.): $559 billion
    > Proved oil reserves: none
    > Oil consumption (2013): 305 million barrels a day

    Whoops!

    One wonders if those without oil reserves aren’t at an advantage; more incentive to develop alternatives and forced to limit consumption. Then again, how does one compete, globally, without oil?

    Then there’s this:

    “…With the exceptions of 2008 and 2009, when the global financial crisis stifled economic growth in much of the world, oil consumption has been rising…”

    We could easily start a chicken-or-egg argument over this one. How much did high-priced oil (peak crude?) contribute to slower economic growth?

  3. westexas on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 10:20 am 

    “Among many developed countries, oil consumption is falling, due in part to slow economic growth that tamps down demand for crude. Another contributor to slowing demand is more fuel-efficient motor vehicles.”

    I guess that the fact that Brent crude averaged $25 in 2002, and about $110 for 2011 to 2013 inclusive, had no impact on demand in developed countries?

  4. Plantagenet on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 10:32 am 

    Spain and France have huge tight shale oil resources.

  5. eastbay on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 10:47 am 

    And the tight shale oil resources in Spain and France, like those everywhere, can only be extracted once, and when the extraction starts, depletion soon follows.

    In other words, it’s the last dime bag of smack.

  6. Plantagenet on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 11:11 am 

    You’re on the right track there, EastBay. France and Spain (and the US) should be using the tight oil to fund mass transit and to manage a transition to a post-carbon economy. But the political leaders in the EU are just as short-sighted as our own political leadership here in the US.

    There are other unused “bags of smack” out there, such as gas hydrates, but we’ll have to transition eventually, so why not now?

  7. Dredd on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 11:23 am 

    What this illustrates, among other things, is this is dangerous in the sense of oil wars (the shooting kind).

    The advent of religion into the picture, in a much bigger way, has an element of unintended consequences (Message of Science & Religion – Western – 2).

    The plot thickeneth.

  8. Northwest Resident on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 11:26 am 

    The reason why France and Spain (and others) are very unlikely to actively attempt to exploit those other unused “bags of smack” is because it would be a really bad idea.

    We saw a statistic on an article posted on this forum last week stating that in 2013, 20% of global oil investment went to American shale production, with an astounding 4% of global “oil” production resulting from that significant amount of investment.

    Where will the 20% of global investment come from to pay for the money-losing fracking in France and Spain? Will we get another pathetic 4% of global “oil” production from that 20% if the newly printed money gets spent in France and Spain, or less? Will the people in France and Spain sit still and tolerate the ecological destruction and water wastage that private land owners in America have “the right” to allow on their land? It is severely doubtful that they will tolerate it.

    Fracking in France, or Spain, or anywhere else is a really bad idea — just like a dime bag of smack.

  9. bobinget on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 2:17 pm 

    One of the prime reasons for North Korea’s bad,
    really bad, behavior and economy is lack of oil.

    Even with millions in slavery, or, because of slavery, working and living conditions, N.K. is doomed never to prosper.

    South Korea has no oil. For decades suffered tranical but not insanity governments. As wages and living conditions improved Korea joined
    world democracies. IMO, Korea’s GDP improves
    yearly BECAUSE NK is a Total Mad House.

  10. Apneaman on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 3:04 pm 

    Plant, so far the gas hydrates are a dead end after 30 years of trying and billions of dollars. Other than at the local level, I do not see the sheep electing anyone who tells them the party’s over. They rejected Jimmy Carter when he tried to warn them and they will reject anyone who says the same today. For modern carbon man to admit the party’s over is to admit that we are no smarter than any other era of man and that all are so called greatness was built on the knowledge of those who came before us and was not possible without the magic of of 10.000.000 years of stored sunlight. People vote for more not less. Look at all the moves to keep it going; Abolish the Glass-Steagall, corporate person hood, delay The Volcker Rule (it will never happen) Bail outs, Bail in provisions, massive un-payable debts, etc, etc. They will do everything they can to keep it going; damn the consequences.

  11. Apneaman on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 4:05 pm 

    I love how MSM business reporter Alonso Soto tries to spin this shite as a positive. The bureaucrats save their jobs while the guys who cleaned the sewers for 40 years is now gonna eat cat food/.

    Brazil to save up to $6.7 bln with measures to cut pension benefits

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/29/brazil-economy-measures-idUSE4N0S301V20141229

    Bad News Brazil (Tell me why I don’t like Mondays….)

    Brazil’s Economy Just Imploded

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-29/brazils-economy-just-imploded

  12. Plantagenet on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 5:06 pm 

    Apneaman:

    1. A lot of research is being doing on gas hydrates. Its a HUGE resource, but the technology to exploit it isn’t quite ready yet.

    2. You are 100% right that politicians pander and people want them to pander. You’re singing my song, dude.

    Cheers!

  13. Apneaman on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 5:15 pm 

    Predictions Based on the 2015 Federal Budget

    http://truth-out.org/speakout/item/28260-predictions-based-on-the-2015-federal-budget

  14. andya on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 6:03 pm 

    Japan can just use methane hydrates, that was big news a while ago, what happened?

  15. Makati1 on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 6:10 pm 

    Penury, it means that Russia powers Europe, and will for the foreseeable future, or Europe will enter another Dark Ages. Putin knows this and some German manufacturers are waking up to the fact, but the EU leadership is still listening to their masters in DC.

    BTW: Wishing you all a very healthy, happy, successful 2015!

  16. Plantagenet on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 6:27 pm 

    @Makatai—-your idea that the EU leadership is taking orders from obama is ridiculous. The leaders of the EU resistance to Putin are homegrown EU leaders—they come from former Soviet captive nations like the Baltic States, Poland, etc. These folks are in turn backed up by Merkel, herself a survivor of the former Soviet client state in East Germany.

  17. ghung on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 6:39 pm 

    andya: “Japan can just use methane hydrates, that was big news a while ago, what happened?”

    Turned out their methane hydrates are all radioactive. Not sure how that happened.

  18. rockman on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 9:18 pm 

    ghung – Can’t find any report of “radioactive methane hydrates”. As far as the Japanese producing NG from a hydrate deposit they did just that: spent many tens of $millions to produce a few tens of thousands of $’s of NG. Despite all the obscene hype by the MSM have you seen them report the details? The Japanese admit they have no time frame for potential commercial development. In fact that includes no experimental pilot project in the planning stage. Their efforts so far are strictly research efforts. Doing a web search: I can find no information posted since the initial MSM hype.

    There’s one aspect conspicuously missing from all the hype: this isn’t a gas phase of NG being produced from the pores in a solid rock. It is a mass of solid ice with a relatively small amount of methane trapped in the crystal structure. IOW the entire mass of solid hydrate has to be “melted” per se. So what happens when that giant hole is created about a 1000′ below the sea floor?

    The Japanese certainly should being doing this research. But even talking about the hydrates as resources, let alone reserves, is grossly premature IMHO.

  19. GregT on Mon, 29th Dec 2014 10:12 pm 

    Plant,

    Unlike you, Makati actually understands that Obama doesn’t run DC. It is YOUR idea that “the EU leadership is taking orders from Obama” that is ridiculous. Obama doesn’t make the orders, he follows them.

  20. Makati1 on Tue, 30th Dec 2014 6:24 am 

    GregT, some need to have others to blame, and the Obomination is their pick because they don’t understand the current set-up. But, I would say that he is typical of most Americans. Americans are number one at the blame game and need someone else to blame for their stupidity, failures and lack of intelligence.

  21. bobinget on Tue, 30th Dec 2014 3:31 pm 

    This old man is excited to be able take in this historic drama we find ourselves experiencing.

    Many years ago my biggest fear was I would never know ‘how it all turned out’. Turning 80 in a month, I finally realize this world ‘play’ has more then three acts.

    Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan; 2015…. Poland, Spain, Eastern Europe, Manchuria, Ethiopia, of the 1930’s.

    2015
    Almost un heralded— masses of homeless refugees surging around Europe and the Mideast like so much storm tossed seaweed salad.

    I was alive when Josef Stalin said “The death of one man, a tragedy. The death of millions, a statistic.
    Almost everyone gasped. In fact Stalin predicted
    this 21st Century clusterfuck we find ourselves looking at today.

    So much ‘ink’ is spilled dissecting all the reasons
    oil prices go up or down when millions are being sacrificed on Crude Oil’s Altar. Except those directly involved, the number of centimeters of Alpine ski
    snow is a bigger story.

    If anyone here lives to see this drama play out,
    I urge them to recall our early century experts who
    averted notice if five million starving and homeless people stood in the way of Short Term profits.

    Just imagine the conversations 10/20 years hence About our generation, to preserve already bloated wealth, was short sighted, cruel enough to ignore
    the millions perishing on oil’s golden altar. Calling out, shamelessly, for more austerity, less humanity.

    Crude oil ‘glut’—- indeed!

  22. Mike999 on Tue, 30th Dec 2014 3:57 pm 

    Wind is the cheapest source of power in Europe, we should be seeing that expand soon.

  23. Makati1 on Tue, 30th Dec 2014 6:42 pm 

    Mike, DC has plenty of “wind” but you will never see a wind powered generator there…lol. Alternate energy sources like wind are never going to be more than a very small part of our energy needs. They too require oil power to exist.

  24. agramante on Wed, 31st Dec 2014 9:18 am 

    ghung–I assume you’re alluding to the Fukushima meltdown and spill. Thing is, water is pretty effective at absorbing radiation. That’s why the ocean is dark a few hundred meters below the surface (despite all the EM the sun dumps on it), and why the US turned to ocean nuke testing in the 50’s. I haven’t checked the data lately, but at last perusal, it was found that Fukushima radiation levels in the ocean were down to background levels within 50 or so miles–maybe much less than that.

    Now don’t get me wrong! I’m not excusing the accident or saying that nuke spills aren’t a big deal. They are. But most of the severe and long-lasting effects will be felt in Japan, where the ground, and ground water, were contaminated. But there’s no discernible oceanic signal very far away from the coast, and reports of the demise of North America’s west coast due to this disaster are, to borrow the well-known phrase, exaggerated.

  25. ghung on Wed, 31st Dec 2014 9:41 am 

    agramante – I was, of course, being facetious; playing on Japan’s energy conundrum. If any country needs to go in heavier on alternatives and efficiency, it’s Japan. I have my doubts that chasing the methane clathrate dream will pay off from a net energy perspective. Could be wrong.

    Meanwhile, they spend their energy and capital on $100/gram tuna and the finest billboards fiat money can buy. I suppose they’ll muddle through, like the rest of us.

  26. Agbo Tim Okechukwu on Fri, 26th Feb 2016 2:42 am 

    I am a dealer of original red oil from the south eastern Nigeria. Am looking for international buyers.

  27. ghung on Fri, 26th Feb 2016 7:52 am 

    Gosh, Tim, what’s the THC percent?

  28. Fred on Sun, 8th May 2016 9:29 am 

    I am Fred by name from Nigeria, I need a Japanese or Brazilian woman for marriage, please interested person can phone me on +2349096852973.

  29. mike groot on Sat, 8th Apr 2017 10:03 am 

    The netherlands has some oil in the north sea and on the main land but it’s hard tot get there are even some pomps in the region where i live. And we have more than enough gass gor our people

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