The largest oil discoveries worldwide in 2013 emanated from the Middle East and Africa, concluded a report issued here on Thursday by the Diplomatic Center for Strategic Studies.
The Gulf region, which of course is part of the Middle East, provides the world with 23 percent of its requirement of oil and 12 percent of natural gas, said the report, noting that Gulf states possess 39 percent of the world's oil reserves and 21 percent of its natural gas.
The accelerated rate of drilling for oil and gas in the Middle East region in 2013 has helped in the hike of production and exportation operations in the region, giving a solid boost to its overall reserves capacities, said the report.
It added that Saudi Arabia, with 20 percent of the world's oil reserves, ranks first among the Middle East region's states in the size of its reserves which are estimated to be upwards of 276 billion barrels, and second internationally after Venezuela.
However Saudi Arabia still retains first place as the world's largest oil producer and exporter, pumping out more than 10 million barrels a day, said the report.
It noted that despite the expansion in recent times in oil and gas discoveries and production rates, these operations were momentarily hampered by the turbulent geo-political crisis in such states as Iran, Libya, Syria, and South Sudan, although the report forecasted a resurgence of these operations in the few months ahead.
Overall, in the past few years, a number of growing markets have opened up to international investments by global energy companies seeking new sources for drilling and producing oil and gas, said the report, emphasizing that in the Middle East region the number and value of contracts for drilling and production increased in 2013 by 1.8 percent, up from 0.8 percent in 2011 and 1.5 percent in 2012