Monday, June 14, 2010

High prices boost UAE oil revenue by 75%

By  Nadim Kawach

Billion was the UAE's oil export revenue from January to May from around $16bn in the first five months of 2009. (AP)

A surge in crude prices boosted the UAE's oil export earnings by nearly 75 per cent in the first five months of 2010 while Opec's (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) total income more than doubled, official US figures showed yesterday.

From around $16 billion (Dh58.8bn) in the first five months of 2009, the UAE's oil export revenues leaped to nearly $28bn in the first five months of this year, according to figures released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Department of Energy.

The figures showed the UAE was the third largest earner in the 12-nation Opec after Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two top crude producers within the cartel.

Opec's income more than doubled to $314bn in the first five months of 2010 from $135bn in the same period of 2009. Saudi Arabia, the world's oil superpower, earned around $86bn in the first five months of 2010, more than 27 per cent of Opec's total income. Iran's revenues stood at $30bn.

Nigeria was the fourth-largest earner, with its income standing at $27bn, followed by Kuwait with $25bn, Angola with $24bn and Algeria with $23bn. Ecuador, the smallest Opec producer, earned only $3bn.

The surge in the revenues of Opec, which pumps under 40 per cent of the world's crude resources, was a result of a sharp rise in oil prices although the cartel's oil exports were almost unchanged during that period.

The price of Opec's basket of 12 crudes averaged around $76 in the first five months of 2010 compared with nearly $45 in the first five months of 2009.

Despite the recent decline following the euro zone crisis, analysts expect crude prices this year to average nearly $10 above their $61 level in 2009.

EIA put Opec's earnings at around $573bn last year and projected these would surge to $751bn in 2010 and to around $809bn in 2011 on the back of higher prices and output.

Opec, sitting atop 70 per cent of the world's proven oil deposits, decided to slash supplies by more than four million barrels per day (bpd) through 2008 and 2009 after global demand was hit by the financial crisis in September 2008.

The bulk of the cuts have been shouldered by Gulf oil heavyweights given their high output, with Saudi Arabia alone trimming supplies by more than one million bpd. Iran, which controls the second largest oil reserves, reduced output by more than 400,000 bpd while the UAE and Kuwait cut by at least 200,000 bpd each.

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 plunged rapidly in the second half of 2008 under pressure of faltering demand because of the crisis. They dipped below $40 a barrel in the final months of 2009 and hovered at that level in the first quarter of 2010 before rebounding sharply in the second half on signs of recovery in the global economy.

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