Russia Topples Saudi Arabia as Biggest Oil-Producing Nation

Russia has beaten the Saudis in the global crude market.

The country is now the top crude oil producer in the world, pumping a record 10.01 million barrels of output in September.

These new figures from the Russian Energy Ministry put the country ahead of Saudi Arabia for the first time. As the Saudis and other OPEC members have cut production since September 2008, the Russians have run ahead of the pack.

The International Energy Agency forecast this would happen and says this trend will continue as non-OPEC output should grow in 2010 by about 500,000 barrels a day, largely because of increases from Russia, China and the United States (IEA's October oil update will be released on Friday).

Oil Barrels
Oil Barrels

China's oil reserves are at the highest level in over a year, according to China Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals.

U.S. crude oil stocks are now 34.7 million barrels, or 11%, higher than a year ago, according to Cameron Hanover Energy Research.

With Russia surpassing Saudi Arabia as the world's top oil producer, rhetoric about U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern crude also should be put in perspective. U.S. crude oil imports from Canada, Venezuela and Mexico are actually four times imports from Saudi Arabia, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (June 2009).

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