OPEC Rings Up $1 Trillion in Oil Sales

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With the average price of Brent crude in 2012 pointed at a record high of $111.50 a barrel, it is probably no surprise that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, aka OPEC, hauled in record revenues estimated to total $1.052 trillion. That is about 10% higher than OPEC’s stated 2012 target of $100 a barrel, but there are not likely to be any complaints.

The Financial Times reports that not only is this year’s haul a record in nominal dollars, but also surpasses the totals for 1973-74 and 1979-81 in inflation-adjusted dollars. OPEC pumps about 30 million barrels of oil a day.

Iran’s share of the take was smaller than usual, owing to U.S. and European sanctions on the country related to Iran’s nuclear development program. According to the FT, in the first 11 months of the year, Iran’s share of the revenues fell from a typical range of 9% to 10% to just 6.5%. The beneficiaries have been Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq. Libyan production has also returned to its pre-civil war levels.

Paul Ausick

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