The Shifting Center of Petroleum Production
- Graham B. Moody (Petroleum Consultant)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 1956
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 19 - 22
- 1956. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
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During the past 98 years the United States has produced annually more crude oil than any other country, except during one three-year period and another period of four years. Needless to say this nation has surpassed all others in cumulative production.
The United States for many years has produced a greater percentage of its proved reserves annually than has any other country with large reserves. The high annual withdrawal from reserves by this nation in the past may lead in the future to the loss of its status as center of crude oil production.
Center of Annual Production
Rumania, birthplace of the oil industry, was the center of crude oil production during the three-year period, 1857 to 1859 (Fig. 1 and Table 1). Actually, it had the only recorded output in 1857 and 1858 and 67 per cent of world production in 1859. Before continuing the citation of honors as center of world's production, it should be mentioned that there may have been small production from some spot before records were kept.
The United States was largest producer from 1860 through 1897. U.S.S.R. took the lead from this nation in 1898 and held it through 1901. However, the United States regained the front position in 1902 and has not been overtaken since then. Since the first year of its supremacy, 1860, the United States has produced 50 per cent or more of world's production every year with these exceptions: 1898 to 1902, inclusive, 1953 and 1954. During the period 1907 through 1947 thenation's output was over 60 per cent of world's production each year, and in six of the years it produced 70 per cent or more of world's total.
There are several countries that should not be ignored despite the fact that they have not led the world as yet in production any year. A comparison of the maximum annual production of each of nine countries and the same year's production of the other eight countries is shown in Table 2. (See Fig. 2 also.) Six of the cited countries registered their maximum annual production in 1954. Probably all of these could produce more than they did in 1954. The percentage of the world's 1954 production credited to Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia - and the known potentialities of these countries and Iran - suggest the direction in which the center of production is moving.
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