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Guyana Boasts World’s Second Highest Oil Reserves Per Capita

First Published: 28th of April, 2022. Guyana, South America. GSA News

Last updated: December 18, 2022 at 20:09 pm

Fossil fuel, commonly referred to as “oil,” is truly the lifeblood of the global economy. The world currently derives about one-third of its energy resources from fossil fuels. Consequently, countries with high oil reserves tend to accumulate a lot of wealth in a short period of time. Assuming that the oil revenues are managed wisely, there are no civil unrests or war, and a low level of corruption, this wealth can easily be converted into a thriving economy and provide a life of luxury for citizens of that country.

The proven oil reserve “per capita” is calculated as the number of barrels of proven oil reserves divided by the population of the country. The proven oil reserves per capita is a theoretical indicator of how many barrels of oil we can allocate to each citizen. In other, words, if we share out all the oil in reserve to the citizens equally, how many barrels will each get?

The oil reserves per capita then, gives an idea of the impact the oil wealth is likely to have on the lives of the people of that country. If the country has a small population and large oil reserve, then the oil reserve “per capita” will be high, and the oil wealth will have the potential to more strongly impact the lives of the citizens.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the countries with the top 20 highest proven oil reserves and compare it with their population to find the proven oil reserves “per capita” for that country.

The following table extracts data from 2021-2022, and orders the data starting with the country of the highest proven oil reserves.

CountryProven Oil Reserves (Barrels)Population (Estimated)Proven Oil Reserves Per Capita (Barrels)
Venezuela298,400,000,00028,440,00010,492
Saudi Arabia268,300,000,00034,810,0007,708
Canada171,000,000,00038,010,0004,499
Iran157,800,000,00083,990,0001,879
Iraq144,200,000,00040,220,0003,585
Kuwait104,000,000,0004,271,00024,350
Russia103,200,000,000144,100,000716
United Arab Emirates97,800,000,0009,890,0009,889
Libya48,360,000,0006,871,0007,038
Nigeria37,070,000,000206,100,000180
USA36,520,000,000329,500,000111
Kazakhstan30,000,000,00018,750,0001,600
Qatar25,240,000,0002,881,0008,760
China24,650,000,0001,402,000,00018
Brazil15,310,000,000212,600,00072
Algeria12,200,000,00043,850,000278
Guyana11,000,000,000800,00013,750
Mexico9,812,000,000128,900,00076
Angola9,011,000,00032,870,000274
Ecuador8,832,000,00017,640,000501

Kuwait, an oil economy of stellar economic success, boasts the highest proven oil reserves per capita in the world. With proven oil reserves of 104 billion barrels, and a population of roughly 4.3 million, Kuwait can theoretically allocate 24,350 barrels of oil per citizen. The Kuwaiti currency is more than 3 times stronger than the US dollar. The current exchange rate is 1 Kuwaiti Dinar = 3.26 US dollars.

Coming in second is Guyana with 11 billion barrels of oil and counting. If we use the generous population estimate of 800,000 for Guyana, then the proven oil reserves per capita for Guyana is 13,750.

As you can see, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Canada are the countries with the highest proven oil reserves in the world, but their huge population makes their oil reserves lower “per capita” than Guyana.

This article was republished in the Guyana, South America Monthly Magazine, June 2022 Edition.

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