Countries in the Middle East, which possess 48.3 per cent of the world’s oil reserves, play a vital role in global oil production.
Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Oman and the United Arab Emirates were among the top crude oil producers last year, according to London-based analysis and consultancy firm, GlobalData.
The Middle East’s oil reserves also play a crucial role in the economic growth of the countries in the region, which derive most of their income from oil.
The 12 largest oil fields in the Middle East are located in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Oman and the UAE, and more than 15 million barrels of oil are extracted daily from them.
Located in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa province 100 kilometres (62 miles) east of the capital, Riyadh, the Ghawar oil field is the world’s largest, in terms of both reserves and daily production.
The reserves of the field, owned by the country’s national oil company, Saudi Aramco, were discovered in 1948, and oil production started in 1951.
With total oil reserves of 96 billion barrels, the Ghawar field provides almost one-third of Saudi Arabia’s daily oil production, with 3.8 million barrels per day.
In addition to oil, Ghawar is also rich in natural gas reserves and produces around 56 million cubic meters (2 billion cubic feet) of gas daily.
The Greater Burgan oil field in Kuwait, which consists of three subfields – Burgan, Magwa and Ahmadi – is located in the desert region in the south of the country.
Discovered in 1938, Burgan is known as the second largest oil field in the world, with approximately 70 billion barrels of reserves.
The oil field, which accounts for most of Kuwait’s oil production, has a daily capacity of approximately 1.7 million barrels.
The Rumaila oil field, located in southern Iraq near the Kuwaiti border, is considered the world’s third largest oil field, with a daily production capacity of 1.5 million barrels.
Rumaila, which meets one third of Iraq’s total oil production, was discovered in 1953.
The field, which started production in 1954, is operated by a joint venture between Basra Oil Company, BP, PetroChina and Iraq’s State Organisation for Marketing of Oil (SOMO).
Rumaila is estimated to have 17 billion barrels of oil reserves.
Saudi Arabia’s Khurais oil field is the country’s second largest.
The field, owned and operated by Aramco since 2009, increased its production capacity by 300,000 barrels per day to 1.5 million bpd at the end of a development project completed in 2018.
The Shaybah oil field is located in the Rub Al-Khali Desert in south-eastern Saudi Arabia, near the UAE border.
Discovered and starting production in 1998, two major projects were implemented in December 2022.
With the crude oil expansion project, Shaybah’s production was increased by 300,000 bpd to one million bpd.
In addition, daily natural gas production capacity at Shaybah was increased to around 125,000 cubic meters (4.4 million cubic feet).
Saudi Arabia’s Safaniya oil field in the Persian Gulf is the world’s largest offshore oil field in terms of production capacity.
Owned and operated by Aramco, it produces 1.3 million bpd of crude.
Discovered in 1951 during the reign of King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud, the founder of Saudi Arabia, the field has been active since 1957.
Aramco launched the Safaniya Master Development Plan in the late 2000s to maintain a maximum oil production capacity of 1.3 million bpd and improve operational efficiency.
Within the framework of this plan, modernisation work was carried out in the field.
The Upper Zakum Oil Field is the largest production field operated by the UAE’s state-owned oil company, ADNOC.
The world’s second largest offshore oil field, Upper Zakum, produces 750,000 bpd of crude.
Following the completion of a development project which cost about $10 billion, the field’s production capacity was increased by 50 per cent.
Within the framework of the “2030 Smart Growth Vision”, ADNOC plans to increase the production capacity of Upper Zakum to one million bpd by 2024 as part of a project that will cost around $30 billion.
With the project, the UAE aims to increase its daily production capacity, which is currently 4 million barrels, to 5 million bpd by 2027.
The Manifa offshore oil field, located on the Persian Gulf coast in northern Saudi Arabia, is one of the world’s largest oil production fields.
The initial production from the field was 40,000 bpd in 1964.
However, production was suspended in 1984 due to the global economic downturn and low demand for crude oil.
Following an increase in global oil demand, Aramco expanded Manifa’s production capacity in 2007, with an investment worth around $10 billion.
According to Aramco’s website, Manifa, where production resumed with construction work completed in 2008, reached a production capacity of 900,000 bpd in 2017 compared to 500,000 bpd in 2013.
Zuluf, a giant offshore oil field in the Persian Gulf, is located about 240 kilometres (149 miles) north of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
Owned and operated by Aramco, the field has been in production since 1973.
The field’s current production capacity is around 800,000 bpd.
A major expansion project is underway to increase production.
The Block 6 oil field is located in Dhofar, Oman.
Owned by the government of Oman, Shell, TotalEnergies and Thailand’s national oil company, PTT Public Company Limited, the field is operated by the Oman Petroleum Development Company.
Block 6 is seen as one of the most important lifelines of the country’s economy, with a daily oil production capacity of 650,000 barrels.
Although Oman is a relatively small oil producer compared to other countries in the Middle East, it is still the 19th largest oil producer in the world.
Ahvaz, Iran’s largest oil field, has a total of 66 billion barrels of oil reserves, of which approximately 37 billion barrels are extractable.
Located in the country’s south-west, it is considered the third largest oil field in the world in terms of total reserves.
The field, which has been producing since 1954, is operated by the Karoon Oil & Gas Production Company of the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company.
Currently, 800,000 barrels of oil are extracted daily from the field.
Iran has the fourth largest oil reserves in the world after Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Canada.
According to National Iranian Oil Company, the country has about 158 billion barrels of crude oil reserves.
However, Iran has struggled to sell its oil due to sanctions imposed by the US, while its production capacity has declined due to a lack of investment, mostly from foreigners.
According to the country’s Oil Ministry, Iran currently produces a total of 3 million bpd of oil.
With total reserves of more than 52 billion barrels and 23 billion barrels of extractable crude oil reserves, Gachsaran oil field, Iran’s second largest oil reserve, is located in the country’s south-west.
According to data from Gachsaran Oil & Gas Production Company, the field, which has been in operation since 1930, currently produces 650,000 bpd of oil.
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