Opec income seen at all-time high in 2012

Strong oil prices will ally with high production to boost OPEC’s crude export earnings to an all-time high of more than $one trillion in 2012 after breaking a historical record in 2011, according to official US figures The income will boost the cumulative15-year oil export earnings of the 12-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to a whopping $6.7 trillion since 1998.

More than half the income has been achieved during 2008-2012 when oil prices were at their highest level and the organization was pumping at nearly capacity.

The figures showed OPEC earned a record high $1.026 trillion in 2011 when the price of the group’s basket of crudes climbed to its highest average of nearly $107 a barrel.

Forecasts by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Department of Energy showed OPEC’s income could break a new record of around $1.154trn this year before slipping to about $1.117trn in 2013.

EIA gave no yearly income breakdown for OPEC members but its figures for the first quarter of 2012 showed Saudi Arabia, the world’s dominant oil exporter, earned around $117 billion. The UAE emerged as the second largest earner in the 42-year-old OPEC, with its income standing at $35bn in the first quarter.

EIA put the first quarter revenue at $33 billion in Kuwait, $32 billion in Nigeria, $29 billion in Iran, $26 billion in Iraq, $25 billion in Angola, $22 billion in Algeria, $21 billion each in Venezuela and Qatar, $15 billion in Libya and $four billion in Ecuador.

Saudi Arabia made its highest earnings of $311 billion in 2011 while those of the UAE also swelled to an all time high of around $101 billion. All other Opec producers also netted higher revenues last year because of the surge in crude prices.

EIA gave no reason for the higher income in 2012 but crude prices are projected to be almost equivalent or even higher than in 2011. The average price of OPEC’s basket already surpassed the 2011 price as it stood at $110 until October 24.

OPEC is also pumping at one of its highest levels despite a sharp fall in Iran’s output because of the US-led international sanctions.

Production has remained above 31 million barrels per day over the past few months as Saudi Arabia has used its massive idle capacity to make up for the Iranian shortage. The Gulf Kingdom’s output is now close to 10 million bpd.

OPEC’s previous income record was set in 2008 when it peaked at $964 billion before it dived to $579 billion in 2009 because of sharp drop in crude prices. The income recovered to nearly 769 billion in 2010.

OPEC’s basket prices stood at only around $24 in 2002 before they began their steady climb in the following years. They rose to $28 in

2003 and $36 in 2004, around $50 in 2005, and $61 in 2006. Prices swelled to $69 in 2007 before leaping to a record nominal high of around $94 in 2008. In 2009, they thumbed to $61 because of lower demand due to the global fiscal distress but rebounded to $77 in 2010.

In 2011-2012, oil prices have remained at their highest levels since the group was founded in 1960.

Figures by the London-based Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES) showed OPEC’s income could total $6.74 trillion through 1998-2012, with more than half the earnings achieved during 2008-2012.

The income in the first five years of that period stood at around $817 billion, far below the revenue in 2011 alone. It picked up to around

2.07 trillion in the 2003-2007 period before it climbed to nearly

$3.85 billion in the following five years.

A breakdown showed Saud Arabia alone earned nearly a third of the 15-year income, netting around $2.092 trillion. It was followed by the UAE, with round $648 billion and Kuwait with nearly $643 billion.


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