You probably know how it starts. “See Saudi, see Qatar. Is it not the same oil we have? They have gone so far while we are here moving backwards. It must be corruption.” Had a similar conversation over the weekend. The consensus seems to be that we have enough oil to do just as well as the oil-rich gulf countries. There is some truth to that. We were the 11th largest crude oil producer in 2011. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we also have a lot of people. 166m and counting. Would the story still be the same if we looked at per capita crude oil production? The charts below answer than question perfectly.
We have a lot of crude oil but not nearly enough to compete in the “oil money” league. At least not with the gulf countries. Oh wait we also have natural gas. Hold on.
Pretty much the same story. Bottom line is we don’t have nearly enough crude oil and natural gas to just live off. Qatar produces about 0.74 barrels per person per day while we produce about 0.02 barrels per person per day, using 2011 numbers. If we turned that to dollars then it comes to about $59 a day person or $1794 a month per person in Qatar. Nigeria? $1.2 a day or $36.9 a month per person. Or N5904 a month. That is a lot less than the minimum wage. We have oil but not nearly enough.
This is does not imply that we should not be better off than we are now. Of course we should. For one we should have a lot better infrastructure than we do. We just need to climb off our high horse. We have oil but only enough to be just an advantage.
NB: I assume a $100 a barrel oil price with countries getting 80% of that. A very generous assumption. The Oil output data is from the US Energy Information Administration