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Land masses, islands and oceans are grouped within continents to divide the world into regions. However, there are conflicts between tectonic plate, geographical and geopolitical boundaries. Sub-divisions used here are based on appropriate links to oil and gas statistics and flows across borders.

Geographically, North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Antarctica may be regarded as continents.

The Americas are geologically distinct although Latin America includes Mexico (for geopolitical reasons) even though much of the country is geologically part of North America.

All of Russia is included in Europe. The Middle East (actually a sub-continent of Asia) is considered as a separate region including Turkey and Cyprus, which have geological affinities to Europe.

Countries in Asia and Australasia, including countries of the Pacific, may be grouped together as the Asia-Pacific.

World Group


Population of the world: 6,980 million     

Offshore wells comprise just a small fraction of global drilling

Continental sub-divisions

Land area (sq kms)

Oil prod (000s b/d)

Gas prod (bcm/yr)

Oil cons (000s b/d)

Gas cons (bcm/yr)

More numbers Statistics

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Regions in global group:



AMERICA (Central)


EUROPE (Northwest)

EUROPE (Southern)

EUROPE (Eastern)

AfFRICA (North and Northwest)


AFRICA (South and East)

MIDDLE EAST (Arabia & Persia)

MIDDLE EAST (East Mediterranean)

ASIA (Central)

ASIA (North)

ASIA (South)

ASIA (Southeast)



European Union


Arab League


GLOBAL Regions

Vertical axis in chart corresponds to thousands of barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Oil -  fossil oil produced from on and offshore reservoirs, including tight sands/shales; and liquids extracted from gas.

Gas - sales gas produced from on and offshore reservoirs, including tight sands/shales and coal beds.O

Full breakdowns are available in datafiles.

Vertical axis in chart corresponds to number of wells spudded in year including stand-alone sidetracks.

Wells in chart include those drilled in exploratory and development categories for oil and gas, but excluding CBM.

Full breakdowns are available in datafiles.

In geology a continent is defined by its crust, built around a stable area called a craton - a complex of mobile belts accreted by plate tectonics in cycles of subduction, collision and break-up. The craton forms a ‘floating’ platform of metamorphic and igneous rock. Continents are extended to include submerged shelves, islands, surrounding continental fragments, and intervening sedimentary basins.

A veneer of un-deformed sediments usually covers the craton whilst its margins comprise basins of accumulated marine and terrestrial sediments, a continental shelf descending to a basaltic ocean basin, or the margin of another continent.

Basins, which may overlap territorial boundaries, form in areas where subsidence is occurring, creating space for infill by sediments. Basin subsidence is usually associated with plate tectonic activity in a range of divergent, convergent, transform and intra-plate settings.

Causes of subsidence include crustal thinning and sedimentary, tectonic or volcanic loading. The type of basin is related to the proximity of the plate margin, its type, and the underlying crust (oceanic or continental).  






Super-continents include more than one craton, e.g. Pangaea which broke up into Laurasia (North America, Europe and Asia) and Gondwana (the remainder).

Sub-continents lie on separate tectonic plates, e.g. the Indian subcontinent or the Arabian Peninsula.

Micro-continents are sections of continental crust that have rifted and drifted apart and do not contain a craton, e.g. Madagascar.

Submerged continents are micro-continents covered by the sea, e.g. Zealandia, including New Zealand and Caledonia.