Given the pace of global growth, experts say crude oil prices are higher than they should be - largely the result of concern that Iran might close the Strait of Hormuz in its showdown with the U.S. and European Union over the expansion of its nuclear program.
Like Iran, the world's other big oil producers can be subject to unpredictable and unstable political events, causing price shocks. Such was the case during the 2011 civil unrest in Libya. At the time, Libya was the 17th largest oil-producing country; today it ranks 25th.
In order to understand the effect of events on global oil markets a key figure to watch is the amount of crude produced daily in each country. With data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), a division of the U.S. Department of Energy, CNBC.com took a look at the countries that produce the most crude oil on that basis. (Production is defined as extraction from the Earth's crust, prior to the refining process.)
According to the EIA, daily global production is 88.76 million barrels. The Middle East accounts for 31 percent; North America, 20 percent; Eurasia, 11 percent; Africa, Asia and Oceania, 9 percent; and Central and South America, Europe, 5 percent. (Data as of December 2011, unless otherwise noted.)
So, which countries produce the most crude oil? Click ahead for the top 10.
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By Paul Toscano