Strong crude prices allied with high output to push up the UAE's oil export revenues to a record $89 billion (Dh326bn) during 2008 and turn it into the second largest earner in the 12-nation Opec, official US figures showed yesterday.
The income is nearly 41 per cent above the UAE's crude export earnings of around $69bn in 2007 and more than four times its 2000 income of $21bn, showed the figures by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The UAE was second only to Saudi Arabia, which earned a record $288bn in nominal prices as the Kingdom also pumped at one of its highest levels.
EIA gave no oil output estimates for the UAE but the country, a key Opec member, produced an average 2.6 million barrels per day last year and Opec crude prices averaged about $95 a barrel compared with $68 in 2007.
Saudi Arabia's 2008 income was nearly 48 per cent higher than its 2007 income of around $194bn, according to EIA of the US Department of Energy.
Kuwait, another GCC member, also recorded a sharp rise in its revenues to nearly $81bn last year compared with only $55bn in 2007. Qatar's income jumped to around $38bn from $26bn.
"At this level last year, the UAE and other GCC countries netted their highest ever income in current prices," said an Abu Dhabi-based banker. "That explains their massive fiscal balance in 2008 and the sharp rise in their economies."
EIA put Opec's total income at a record $972bn last year, nearly 45 per cent higher than its 2007 revenues of around $671bn.
The report sharply cut down its previous forecasts about the group's 2009 income to only $387bn from as high as $1.2 trillion forecast in August.
Experts said the sharp decline in EIA's estimates of Opec's revenues in 2009 showed it expects a sharper fall in prices and output by Opec, which decided last year to slash crude supplies by 4.2 million bpd at three separate meetings to prop up prices that have dived because of the global financial crisis. EIA gave no price scenario for 2009 but several independent estimates have put them at $40-50 a barrel.