Crude oil is a naturally occurring substance that is found contained in types of rock under the Earth’s crust and is classified as hydrocarbon. There are different qualities of crude oil depending on what region and what area in the respective region the oil comes from. The name of the oil comes from the field where it is produced. One of the most famous qualities of oil is Brent blend, which comes from oil fields in the North Sea, including Brent Field. The price of oil from other fields is often set in relation to the price of common blends, such as Brent blend and West Texas Intermediate. The value of burning crude oil per se is limited, and a higher degree of refinement is achieved by refining the crude oil into different products, such as petrol and paraffin.
The largest oil deposits are in areas that used to be oceans. These areas include the southern part of the United States, the Middle East, the area around the Caspian Sea, northwest Siberia, Alaska, Mexico, the northern part of South America and north and west Africa. According to BP, world total proven oil reserves amounted to 1669 billion barrels at the end of 2012. In the same period, OPEC’s share of the total proven reserves amounted to approximately 1212 billion barrels (73 percent).
Global oil production totalled approx. 86.2 million barrels per day in 2012, a 2.2% increase in comparison to 2011.
According to BP (2013), the Middle East was the most important producing region with a share of 33 percent of total oil production. Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US are the largest crude oil producers in the world.
World oil consumption has grown by an average of 1.3 percent per year over the past ten-year period. According to BP (2013), total world oil consumption in 2012 was approximately 90 million barrels per day. The largest consumers, with total consumption of approximately 29 million barrels, per day, were North America and China, which accounted for approximately 32 percent of total consumption.