EIA: OPEC may earn $1 trillion this year from oil exports

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, June 17 -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which last week failed to agree new output targets, stands to earn a record $1.034 trillion from exports this year and even more in 2012, according to the US government.

The US Energy Information Administration said that based on projections from its June Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), “OPEC members could earn $1,034 billion of net oil export revenues in 2011 and $1,117 billion in 2012.”

EIA said OPEC last year earned $778 billion in net oil export revenues, a 35% increase over 2009, with Saudi Arabia earning the lion’s share at $225 billion, representing 29% of total OPEC revenues.

The forecast of revenues topping the $1 trillion barrier comes shortly after the June 8 OPEC meeting in which Saudi Arabia was unable to convince an Iranian-led majority of fellow members to boost production in an effort to reduce prices.

OPEC Sec.-Gen. Abdullah El-Badri has since said oil prices will rise and could harm the economy if an expected supply shortage materializes later this year.

“This shortage of 2 million bbl, if it materializes, in the third quarter and the fourth quarter, then the price will go up for sure,” Badri told the Reuters Global Energy and Climate Summit.

“We don’t want to see a very high price. We don’t want to see a very low price. We would like to see a moderate price,” he said. “We think high prices will affect world growth.”

“I don’t think we will see $147[/bbl],” he said. “I think now we have spare capacity. I think if consumers will go to member countries and ask for more oil, I’m sure they will sell it to them.”

But El-Badri drew a line at recent lobbying by the International Energy Agency, which represents 28 industrialized countries and has long engaged in cooperation talks with OPEC.

“We never interfere in the IEA and really we don’t want them to interfere in our business. They should do it in a professional manner. We should not talk to each other through the media,” he said.

Ahead of their next scheduled meeting in December, El-Badri said OPEC members would carry out the group’s mandate of moderating prices and would reach agreement.

“I think the ministers will go back and discuss the outcome of the meeting and they will explain to their governments what happened,” El-Badri said, referring to the acrimonious end to OPEC’s most recent meeting (OGJ Online, June 13, 2011).

“I am sure they will educate themselves more and come up with a decision that will be approved by all the member countries,” he said.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s decision to increase output unilaterally to 10 million b/d is reported to be widening the price gap between undersupplied light crude and abundant lower-quality oil, and will force producers to offer their heavy grades to customers at deeper discounts.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.



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