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Not All OPEC Members Benefit Equally From Higher Oil Prices

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OPEC’s efforts to erase the oil glut and lift oil prices paid off as the cartel reaped higher revenues from crude oil exports in 2017, but the spoils were unevenly split among the individual producers, OPEC’s Annual Statistical Bulletin showed on Thursday.

The value of total petroleum exports of the OPEC producers jumped to US$578.3 billion last year, up from US$451.8 billion in 2016 and from US$519.8 billion in 2015, according to the bulletin.

The annual increase last year stood at 28 percent, according to calculations by Bloomberg. But the rewards from the cuts were not evenly split among the cartel’s individual members.

The biggest percentage gain in the value of petroleum exports was recorded in Libya, up 61 percent on the year to US$15 billion. Last year, Libya was exempt from the production cuts, together with Nigeria, due to the civil strife and militant violence that had crippled the two African countries’ production in 2016.

Libya was the biggest beneficiary because it reaped the effect from the higher oil prices, while at the same time it was boosting its production.

The second-biggest beneficiary was Qatar, whose value of oil exports jumped by 55 percent to US$35.5 billion, despite the fact that it has been in a political dispute with a Saudi Arabia-led group of Arab Gulf producers for a year now.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was third in terms of increase in the value of its oil exports. The UAE had initially failed to fully comply with its quota of the cuts, before Saudi Arabia chastised non-compliant members in the middle of last year.

The higher oil prices also helped most of the OPEC members to improve their current account balances last year. Saudi Arabia, Libya, Venezuela, and Qatar swung from deficits to surpluses in their current account balances, OPEC’s figures show.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • citymoments on June 08 2018 said:
    With all due respects to the author, her latest update on the current accounts of those oil producing nations, is very helpful indeed. I just like to add current account surplus does not reflect the real economic health of a nation: people in Venezuela are starving, they could not even honour their oil supply contracts, countries in Middle East are all tightening their belts by importing less goods, that is why they all have surpluses on their current accounts. Oil at $75, no one is out of the woods yet, they desperately need oil going back above $80 to just make ends meet.

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