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OPEC’s income tops $370 bn

Oil export earnings rose sharply in H1 2010, on higher crude oil prices.

July 14, 2010 8:27 by

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates recorded a significant growth in their oil export earnings in the first half of this year due to a sharp increase in crude prices as the 12-nation OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) earned over $140 billion in additional income.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the UAE’s oil export revenue increased to about $33 billion in the first half of 2010 compared to $21 billion during the corresponding period in 2009.

Saudi Arabia witnessed its income jump by 64 percent to $100 billion in the first half of this year from $61 billion during the same period last year, the official US report said on Tuesday.

The oil income of Kuwait, yet another key oil producer in the region, also swelled to $29 billion this year from $20 billion during the same period in 2009, it added.

Other regional countries also posted significant increase in their crude export earnings. While Qatar’s oil income soared from $10 billion to $17 billion last year, Iran saw a surge to $35 billion from $22 billion. Iraq, which is not included in OPEC’s quota system, also witnessed a rise to $24 billion from $16 billion.

The EIA puts OPEC’s total income at $371 billion in the first half of 2010, a significant leap from $230 billion during the corresponding period last year.

Though no reason was given for the sharp increase in the oil export earnings of the OPEC nations, high crude prices over the past few months, averaging nearly $70 in the first half of this year, were seen as the key factor behind it.

EIA’s forecasts showed OPEC’s income plunged to about $571 billion in 2009 but expected it to rebound sharply to nearly $751 billion this year and $813 billion in 2011, when prices could rise further.

In another report on Tuesday, the EIA forecast that OPEC members will begin to gradually produce more oil over the next 18 months.

The agency raised its 2010 OPEC production forecast to 29.51 million barrels a day, up 170,000 barrels a day from the June outlook. In 2011, OPEC’s oil output is expected to average 30.07 million barrels a day, up 210,000 barrels a day from the previous forecast.

“After remaining relatively steady for the past four quarters, EIA expects OPEC crude oil production to rise slightly through 2011 to accommodate increasing world oil consumption and maintain the organization’s market objectives,” the agency said.

Spare production capacity should remain above five million barrels a day through 2011, compared with just 1.5 million barrels a day in 2008, when oil prices spiked to nearly $150 a barrel. That year, OPEC production averaged 31.27 million barrels a day.

Separately, a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) raised optimism about the global recovery, saying that the oil market could be a guiding hand of stability.

“Markets in 2011 may prove ‘not too hot, not too cold’,” the IEA said. “Whisper it quietly, but we might, just might, be in for some market stability for a while longer.”

The IEA said it was assuming that the oil price next year would average $79.40 per barrel, and that a measure of the global dependency of economies on oil as an energy source would decline by 2.6 percent.


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