UAE nets $16bn in crude exports

The UAE earned nearly $16 billion (Dh58.7bn) from crude oil exports in the first five months of 2009, while the total income of the 12-nation Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) stood at nearly $178bn, official US figures showed yesterday.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Department of Energy also sharply revised up its forecast of the group's earnings for 2009 because of the recent surge in crude prices. It also projected higher Opec income in 2010 apparently due to an improvement in oil prices because of global recovery.

EIA estimated the UAE's oil export revenues at nearly $16bn in the first five months of 2009, the third highest in the Opec after those of Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Its figures showed Saudi Arabia, the world's oil basin, netted around $48bn in the first five months, more than a quarter of Opec's total income. Iran's income was estimated at $17bn, while the earnings stood at $15bn in Kuwait, $14bn in Nigeria, $13bn each for Algeria and Angola, $12bn in Iraq, $11bn in Libya, $10bn in Venezuela, $8bn in Qatar and about $2 billion in Ecuador.

For the whole of 2009, EIA projected Opec's earnings at $530bn, far higher than its previous month's estimate of $462bn. It also massively revised up its earlier projections for the group's 2010 income from $526bn to $620bn.

EIA raised its estimates this year despite a sharp cut in Opec's crude supplies in line with separate agreements in the second half of 2008 to trim the combined output by more than four million barrels per day (bpd).

The bulk of the cuts have been shouldered by Gulf oil heavyweights given their high output, with Saudi Arabia alone slashing supplies by more than one million bpd since September.

Iran, the second largest producer in Opec, reduced output by more than 400,000 bpd while the UAE and Kuwait cut by at least 200,000 bpd each.

Industry sources said EIA's revision of its forecasts for Opec's earnings in 2009 and 2010 followed a surge in crude prices over the past few weeks.

"EIA is clearly projecting higher than expected crude prices this year and a further improvement in 2010 as oil demand begins to pick up with the partial recovery of the global economy," a source said.

Oil prices averaged around $47.5 in the first five months of 2009, nearly half their average in the same period of 2008. But they have jumped above $70 over the past week, boosting expectations they could average well above $50 this year.

The surge in crude prices to a record average of $95 in 2008 allied with high production boosted Opec's income to its highest ever level of $968bn in current prices and allowed most members to record massive fiscal surpluses.

Prices rapidly plunged in the second half of 2008 under the pressure of faltering demand because of the global financial turbulence.


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