Last year’s oil crash coincided with an unprecedented focus by global governments, corporations and the public on committing to net-zero emissions targets by 2050. For producers, a global shift towards cleaner fuels will amplify the challenges of the past year, prompting questions about which resource-rich countries can come out of the energy transition in the best shape.

For decades oil price booms and busts have provided shocks to producer states, underscoring economic frailties and the urgent need to develop new business sectors to reduce fossil fuel dependence. The worst-off countries tend to be the most exposed: states where hydrocarbon exports make up a large part of GDP. They are also the least resilient: where the revenues from the sale of oil, gas and coal have not been adequately managed. This could mean failing to use the cash to diversify and foster other industries domestically or create a sovereign wealth fund that makes investments abroad to secure long-term revenues.

How fossil fuel-dependent economies make the adjustments heralded by the energy transition will be critical. They represent almost one-third of the world’s population and a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Their success or failure in a lower-carbon global economy could have widespread implications for geopolitics, global inequality, energy security and migration patterns.

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