The bad boys of oil

Most of the world's new production is expected to come from just a few nations. That could spell big trouble for Big Oil and consumers alike.

The problem
The problem
The world still has lots of oil. But getting at it may become much harder for big Western oil companies in the coming decade. That's because over the next 10 years, most of the world's new production is expected to come from just a handful of countries, according to a recent report from Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

A glance at the list quickly reveals that many of those countries, for one reason or another, are difficult places for Western oil firms to operate. That could spell trouble for Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and other multinationals whose profits and stock prices are tied to their ability to replace oil with new reserves from the ground.

It could also spell trouble for Western consumers. Many state-owned oil companies are viewed as more interested in employing local workers and limiting production to help keep oil prices high, rather than boosting output. Rising prices have only accelerated that trend.

The 15 countries with the most potential to boost production will contribute nearly 70 percent of the world's total liquid production capacity by 2015, up from just over 60 percent today, the Cambridge Energy report says. Here's a look at the top seven, ranked by the size of their projected increase.