According to the CIA Factbook, these are the top 15 oil producer countries in the world:
1 Russia 9,980,000 2007 est.
2 Saudi Arabia 9,200,000 2008 est.
3 United States 8,457,000 2007 est.
4 Iran 4,700,000 2007 est.
5 China 3,725,000 2008 est.
6 Mexico 3,501,000 2007 est.
7 Canada 3,425,000 2007 est.
8 United Arab Emirates 2,948,000 2007 est.
9 European Union 2,676,000 2007 est.
10 Venezuela 2,667,000 2007 est.
11 Kuwait 2,613,000 2007 est.
12 Norway 2,565,000 2007 est.
13 Iraq 2,420,000 2008 est.
14 Nigeria 2,352,000 2007 est.
15 Brazil 2,277,000 2007 est.
So from the 15, we have 4 developed countries (US, Canada, EU and Norway), 4 ‘developing’ countries (Russia, China, Mexico and Brazil) and 7 basket-case messes (Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE, Venezuela, Kuwait, Iraq and Nigeria). One could even argue that Russia should be on the bottom group, and it is hard to ignore that they are going down that route lately.
Now that Brazil will probably jump up on this list with its new pre-sal fields, the question is: will it move to the developed group or descend into the hopeless crazy bunch?
For the developed countries, oil is hugely important as an enabler but not as a revenue source. US and EU import a bunch of oil, and Canada is in a real special situation due to its proximity of the US. I would say that the only exception is Norway, which depends big time on oil revenue and apparently has done a good job on keeping the other parts of its economy going (and avoiding the ‘Dutch disease’ syndrome). This article for instance says that the main reasons Norway was successful here were clearly defined ownership and sharing rules, and its strong democratic foundation… Can anyone say that Brazil has a history of defining bureaucratic rules well and a ‘very strong’ democratic foundation at this point?
I don’t want to be too cynical but it is hard for me to believe that Lula and his gang of lefties will be wise enough to play this card right. Especially with everything else that has been going on in Latin America, it seems to be that all things considered, Brazil is still much more similar to Venezuela than it is to Norway.
Wait and see I guess.