I'm looking for a source that lists all crude oil production by each nation, as it was in 1940. The reason is to understand geopolitics of the time, especially the oil security (or lack thereof) of each nation participating in WW2.

So far I've only found the US at 4 million barrels per day according to this graph.

  • 1
    league of nations yearbook would have a reasonable summary.
    – pugsville
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 10:43
  • 1
    digital.library.northwestern.edu/league/le0277ah.pdf 1939 figures
    – pugsville
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 10:52
  • @pugsville Thanks, but I'm confused about pages 131 and 132. Page 132 is production of petrol products (like gasoline), which is different than crude oil. I don't know what page 131 is tabulating, maybe imports?
    – DrZ214
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 11:05
  • 1
    my math gives 3.4 million barrels a day for 1939. (remember 1939 not 1940 figure) close enough not to be concerned.
    – pugsville
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 11:54
  • 1
    @pugsville Thanks, I was dividing by 7.33 instead of multiplying by 7.33. If you make this into an answer I'll accept it.
    – DrZ214
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 12:41

2 Answers 2


Here is a link with annual oil production in metric tons (Mt), 1936-1948.

The US is by far and away the world's largest oil producer (over 180 million MT in 1940), followed by the Venezuela and the Soviet Union (30 and 27 million MT respectively). The next tier includes Indonesia and Iran (about 8 million MT each), trailed by Mexico and Romania (6 million MT each). Germany got most of her oil from Romania, and could certainly have used Soviet or Iranian oil. In Asia, the East Indies (modern Indonesia) was the big prize.

  • On that page it says: "Source: BR Mitchell". What exactly is BR Mitchell?
    – DrZ214
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 6:01
  • @DrZ214: It is a compiler of international statistics. amazon.com/International-Historical-Statistics-B-R-Mitchell/dp/…
    – Tom Au
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 23:55
  • BTW, about Germany got most of her oil from Romania, I found this on wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… : In 1938, two thirds of German oil supply came from the United States and Latin America, and it cites a book tho I don't have it.
    – DrZ214
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 22:55
  • @DrZ214: That was true in 1938, but of course it changed "afterward." Basically, Germany did have the advantage of having stockpiled U.S. oil before the war.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 23:09
  • Thanks, I opened a new question about it so we can get more info: history.stackexchange.com/questions/39365/…
    – DrZ214
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 1:16

Thanks to user:pugsville for pointing out the League of Nations reports. I chose one with a 1940 column, even though some spaces were not filled in due to war. But as it turns out, all nations producing more than a million tons of oil have a 1940 number.

Statistical Yearbook of the League of Nations 1940-1941

(Mt means millions of metric tons of crude oil produced for the whole year)

Country Crude Oil
USA 182.657 Mt
USSR 29.700 Mt
Venezuela 27.443 Mt
Iran 10.426 Mt
Indonesia 7.939 Mt
Mexico 6.721 Mt
Romania 5.764 Mt
Columbia 3.636 Mt
Iraq 3.438 Mt
Argentina 2.871 Mt
Trinidad 2.844 Mt
Peru 1.776 Mt
Burma 1.088 Mt
Canada 1.082 Mt
Egypt 0.929 Mt

There are more, but I didn't bother including nations that produced less than a million metric tons of crude oil in one year (except Egypt because it was pretty close).

Interestingly, Saudi Arabia is not on the list! Apparently they had not yet found oil there. Iran and Iraq are on the list, though.

  • 5
    US companies found oil in Saudi Arabia in 1938 and the production began in 1941.
    – kubanczyk
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 17:55
  • You're absolutely correct. We are so used to ME oil (outside of Iran) that too many people find it even reasonable to assume the Germans were on the way to conquer the Arab oilfields - which weren't there yet.
    – Jos
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 6:48
  • @Jos You're wrong in your assertion: the Germans tried by "cup d'état" to be fueled bu the Iran and Iraq's oil fields, and then in 1942, after it failed, their objective was (among others) to capture these oil fields. You can note that Iranian oil fields were already big producers Commented Dec 7, 2022 at 16:32

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