Saudi Arabia Oil
At roughly one fourth the size of the United States, or 7.5 times the size of Texas, Saudi Arabia's 1.96 million square kilometers of land lies directly upon the largest area of continuous sand in the world: the Rub' al-Khali desert, which covers about 250,000 square miles.
This desert country sits upon some of the world's richest oil reserves, which have made Saudi Arabia the largest economy in the Middle East.
Saudi Oil Industry Overview
On a national scale, Saudi Arabia reported in December 2007 a total of 79 operating rotary rigs comprised of 11 offshore rigs and 65 onshore. The onshore numbers marked a slight decrease from November 2007's report of 68 onshore rigs but the offshore rig count increased from November's report of 7 offshore rigs.
The world's largest deposit of crude oil is located 125 miles west of Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh. Over a 1.3 million acre stretch of land, the Ghawar oil field accounts for 60% of all Saudi Arabian oil. Discovered in 1948, the fields production peaked in 1981 at 5.7 million barrels per day, which remains the highest oil production rate ever achieved by any single oil field in history.
Ghawar Oil Field
The Ghawar oil field is one of the reasons why Saudi Arabia is considered to be the largest oil producer in both the world and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, abbreviated as OPEC. In addition to the Ghawar field, the country sits on several major oils fields including the Abqaiq Field's 12 billion barrels, the Safaniya-Khafji Field's 30 billion barrels, the Berri Field's 12 billion barrels and the Manifa Field's 11 billion barrels. These major Saudi fields contribute to Saudi Arabia's overall production of 10.37 million barrels of oil per day, which by 2009 Saudi Arabia is expected to increase to 12 million barrels per day. Of those numbers, Saudi Arabia exports 8.73 million barrels per day and Saudi Arabia's current reserves are estimated to hold 261.9 billion barrels of crude oil. With such vast reserves, Saudi Arabia will be a world leader in petroleum for many years to come.
Oil export revenues in Saudi Arabia account for around 90 percent of Saudi Arabia's total export earnings for 2005 including around 70-80 percent of state revenues and 4 percent of the country's total gross domestic product (GDP). The reason why Saudi Arabia is able to generate such revenue with its oil reserves is because the country has one fifth (20%) of the world's proven oil reserves with some of the lowest production costs and an aggressive energy sector investment initiative.
The country is one of the largest suppliers of imported oil to the United States. From January 2006 to November 2006, Saudi Arabia supplied the United States with 1.4 million barrels per day of crude oil, which made up approximately 14 percent of the total U.S. crude oil imports.
Saudi Aramco is one of the major companies that controls oil extraction operations in Saudi Arabia. Their operation comprises 85 fields with 320 reserves and a total of 25% percent of the world's oil reserves. The company produces 10 million barrels of crude oil per day and over 9.5 billion cubic feet of gas.