Friday, January 05, 2007

Top countries by excess oil per capita

Climatic reprecussions and even US national interests aside, I'll buy the universalist's argument that it is morally--er, ethically--imperative that we find a way to obsolesce oil. Following is a list of the top 25 countries in terms of annual excess barrels of black gold per capita, computed by subtracting national consumption from national production, dividing by total population, and converting to annual figures:

1. Trinidad and Tobago -- 385
2. Kuwait -- 319
3. Qatar -- 312
4. UAE -- 293
5. Equatorial Guinea -- 283
6. Norway -- 235
7. Brunei -- 183
8. Saudi Arabia -- 104
9. Libya -- 87
10. Bahrain -- 85
11. Oman -- 83
12. Gabon -- 66
13. Angola -- 47
14. Venezuela -- 36
15. Kazakhstan -- 26
16. Republic of the Congo -- 26
17. Iraq -- 24
18. Azerbaijan -- 16
19. Russia -- 16
20. Iran -- 14
21. Algeria -- 12
22. Ecuador -- 9
23. Turkmenistan -- 9
24. Chad -- 8
25. Nigeria -- 6

The only nations worthy of the Occident's moralistic approval are the former Spanish colonies of Trinidad/Tobago and good-natured Norway. Flush with money from the commodities boom of the last few years, the Norwegians have appointed Philosophy professor Henrik Syse to apply SRI to the nation's national pension, funded primarily by oil and gas revenues. The Saudis have historically invested in their own brand of social responsibility, bank-rolling the Taliban in Afghanistan, for example.

While the Scandanavians exclude defense contractors like Honeywell and Boeing from the pension, many of the other countries topping the list use the cash to buy all kinds of deadly toys from places like Israel, Russia, and the US.

These places are enjoying a steady, massive wealth transfer from the rest of the "oil-addicted" world. Their people are enjoying (or at least their leaders are enjoying) money begotten through the luck of the geographic draw, with few 'internationally acceptable' (I'm trying to think like Thomas Friedman) standards attached. Although oil has dropped under the $60 mark, to the lowest levels in a year and a half, we're still looking at $168 billion in excess in revenues for Saudi Arabia, $16 billion for little Qatar, and $56 billion for Venezuela.

That Marxist leadership is sustained on the back of free-trade's dime in the Republic of the Congo illustrates how resource wealth makes political 'reform' unlikely. Enjoying this wealth infusion means countries like Russia do not have to adhere to 'fair trade' practices--if the Kremlin wants to chill Ukraine's penchant for European-style democracy or wants to gouge a putative ally in Belarus, it's going to. So we deny a UAE-owned company the right to US port security. Good for us, but we're not exactly dealing these friends of bin Laden a stinging economic blow.

A full listing of per capita oil shortages and surpluses is available here. Mexico, coming in at #26 with almost six barrels in annual surplus for each of its 107 million people, should at least be giving us a few of these for free in return for importing the country's refuse, inheriting all the problems they create, and exporting billions in remittances to Mexico in return (estimated to total $25 billion per year by the end of the decade).

Obsolescing oil will do far more to further humanitarian goals than any number of ill-advised military forays into the backward nations that extract an abundance of the stuff. Why not take what remains of the some $2 trillion we're set to end up pouring into the Iraq miasma and use it to finance a Manhattan Project for making alternative energy economically viable?

In the US, we can use our glut of coal for energy (in place of oil if something like the Fischer-Tropps process of converting oil into liquid fuel is able to be cost-effectively utilized largescale as companies like Syntroleum are trying to make happen) in the relative short-term while we develop photovoltaics, battery, and wind power. Long-term, nuclear fusion will hopefully serve as the ultimate azoth.


JSBolton said...

T&T was a British colony for several centuries before independence, F-T process is spelled differently.
What about the competitive disadvantage from using higher cost resources in an energy-intensive economy relative to others?
It would seem to be better to seize the nationalized resources which are the most easily held, such as Iranian offshore oilfields; and where the regimes are a threat, and known aggressors against American interests, past and present.
I like to consider myself an isolationist, but not to the extent of pacifism.

savage said...

There are several islands and offshore locations along those lines that might easily be seized. But those solutions are only banaids. It doesn't remove the billions of barrels flowing under Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Steve Sailer said...

Trinidad has a huge refinery, I believe, so it's a big processor, but not a big owner of crude oil in the ground.

Anonymous said...

This was an excellent analysis, and another reason why the US won't take significant steps to reduce oil dependency. But isn't there always another reason why something is happening, instead of, the one being propogated?

Bolton: Great idea, and it can be done under the guise of national security. But then how would the US directly "grease" those companies who had been benefitting from the corrupt regimes receiving greenbacks for oil?:)

Gary Glaucon

crush41 said...

This site indicates that Trinidad's major refinery imports 36% of the oil it refines.

Fat Knowledge said...


Good stuff. Thanks for uploading to Swivel. I was able to download it into Excel and play around with the numbers myself and add my own additional analysis.

The one thing about the revenue is that each country has different costs of production, so profits are different. If I remember correctly, Saudi Arabia produces for about $5 a barrel vs. $20 for Norway.

crush41 said...



Right, the profit margins are going to be different, and not fully known. That's why I stuck to revenues.