Mapped: The World’s Biggest Oil Discoveries Since 1868

This map includes 1,232 discoveries of recoverable reserves over 500 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) From 1868 to 2010.

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Mapped: The World’s Biggest Oil Discoveries Since 1868

Mapped: The World’s Biggest Oil Discoveries Since 1868

Oil and gas discoveries excite markets and nations with the prospect of profits, tax revenues, and jobs. However, geological processes did not distribute them equally throughout the Earth’s crust and their mere presence does not guarantee a windfall for whatever nation under which they lie.

Entire economies and nations have been built on the discovery and exploitation of oil and gas, while some nations have misused this wealth─or projected growth that never materialized.

This chart comes to us from research compiled by World Bank economist Jim Cust and Natural Resource Governance Institute economist David Mihalyi and it plots major oil discoveries since 1868.


First published: November 8, 2019 (link)

Source files included: .ai, .eps, .pdf

Data source: Cust, James and David Mihalyi, 2017. “Evidence for a Presource Curse? Oil Dicoveries, Elevated Expectations and Growth Disappointments.”

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