Harvesting an abundance of oil and natural gas resources, the Middle East supplies nearly half of all exports to the global oil market. Middle Eastern countries Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are all members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which pumps roughly 40% of the world's oil, with Saudi Arabia leading the pack for the greatest amount of output. OPEC's crude oil production was 28.7 million barrels per day in the first half of 2009.
Geophysicists play an important role in the oil and gas industry as they help find underground oil and gas deposits by creating a clear picture of what is below the earth’s surface. Using physical methods (seismic, gravitational, magnetic, electric) they measure the physical properties of subsurface earth to detect or infer the presence of oil or gas. The most common way to create a clear picture of the earth's subsurface is through the seismic method whereby shock waves that are set off at the surface resonate through the earth, and the returning echo can be used to tell what is beneath the surface. Geophysicists are usually classified into three categories: acquisition, processing and interpretation. A strong geoscience, physics, or mathematics background is necessary for a career in geophysics.