Discuss the multi-dimensional implications of uneven distribution of mineral oil in the world.

Sample Answer


The world’s supply of petroleum is not equally divided. The Middle East is home to just over half of the world’s proven reserves (including Iran but not North Africa). The Middle East is followed by Canada and the United States, Latin America, Africa, and the former Soviet Union area, which includes Russia, Kazakhstan, and other nations.


Multi-dimensional implications of uneven distribution of mineral oil: 

  • Unequal access to mineral oil creating issues of energy security in countries like India, China. 
  • Creation of trade surplus and deficit
    • In case of Indian trade deficit, a major contribution comes from import of fossil fuel. 
  • Enables monopolization over scarce natural resource giving these countries disproportionate leverage over price manipulation and diplomacy. For ex: OPEC 
  • Conquest, conflict, and war as many historical and present-day conflicts involve nations trying to control mineral oil rich territories
    • Disproportionate attention given to the middle east region by the developed world. 
  • High standard of living derived not from value addition or high tech innovation but rather trade of mineral oil. 
    • Countries of the Middle East like UAE, Kuwait and Qatar have one of the highest per capita income.


Because of these factors, the countries which have traditionally low levels of mineral oils have taken aggressive steps to diversify the energy sources.  For example Indian investments.

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