Arab oil income at record high in 2011

UAE nets highest earnings while Saudi earns nearly half total

A surge in oil prices allied with higher output to boost the combined Arab crude export earnings by nearly $174 billion to their highest level in 2011 and Saudi Arabia accounted for almost half the total income.

From around $450 billion in 2010, the total revenue of the 11 members of the Kuwaiti-based Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) soared to $624.8 billion in 2011, OAPEC said in its annual 2011 report.

Oil prices surged to their highest average of around $107 a barrel last year from nearly $77 in 2010 while most regional producers pumped more crude to offset disruption in Libya’s supplies, the report showed.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s dominant oil power, netted nearly $289. billion last year compared with $184.4 billion in 2010.

The UAE’s income swelled to an all time high of about $85.9 billion from $57.9 billion while that of Kuwait grew to $79.6 billion from $53 billion.

The earnings leaped to $83.7 billion from $54.2 billion while they increased to $27.3 billion from $20.5 billion in Qatar and to $37.2 billion from $28 billion in Algeria. The report, which gave no data for Tunisia, showed the 2011 income stood at $6.3 billion in Bahrain and around $4.6 billion in Egypt.

Libya was the only exception as its income tumbled to one of its lowest levels of nearly $7.3 billion from $38.7 billion in 2010 because of the internal conflict that ended early this year with the death of Muammar Gaddafi.

In real terms, the combined Arab income stood at $479 billion in 2011, taking into account the real dollar value and global inflation.

While the nominal price of OPEC’s basket of crudes stood at around $107 a barrel in 2011, its real value averaged about $88 in 1995 prices. The oil price in 2010 also averaged nearly $60, far below the level in current prices.

In 2009, current oil prices averaged around $61 but in 1995 prices they were about $48.1, the report showed.

Prices were as high as $94.4 in 2008 while they were only around $75 in 1995 prices. In 2007, they averaged $69.1 in current prices but were $56 in real terms.

As a result, the combined Arab real income was much below the revenue in current prices over the past years and such a gap was a key factor in the large fiscal deficits suffered by most Arab states in previous years before some of them started to record surpluses because of the surge in crude prices and production.

A breakdown showed the Arab income in current prices stood at around $450 billion in current prices in 2010 while in 1995 prices it was estimated at $352 billion. Current earnings of $352 billion in 2009 stood at $278 billion in fixed prices. In 1995, the current and real income was only around $93 billion, less than a sixth of the 2011 income in current prices.

The relatively low earnings during that year were because regional production was far below the current output and oil prices were only around $16.9.

Arab nations suffered from one of their worst fiscal years in 1998 after their revenue plummeted to only about $75 billion because of a sharp fall in crude prices to just around $10 because of a production and price war in the market.

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