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OPEC takings from oil and gas exports hit $1 trillion

OPEC’S annual revenues from oil and gas sales topped $1 trillion last year for the first time, according to figures published yesterday by the cartel.

The 12-nation group, which pumps about a third of the world’s crude oil, said that the value of its exports had risen by 35 per cent during 2008 to $1,007 billion, up from $746 billion in 2007 — itself a former record.
The figures were boosted by soaring oil prices, which hit an all-time peak of $147 per barrel last July, although later they plummeted to end the year close to lows of just over $32 a barrel.
The figures in OPEC’s Annual Statistical Bulletin showed that Saudi Arabia was easily the biggest beneficiary of the surge in crude prices. The cartel’s de facto leader earned $283 billion from oil exports last year, up from $206 billion in 2007.

Opec’s other members — Angola, Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Ecuador, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Libya and Algeria — all benefited from firmer prices.
Abdullah al-Badri, OPEC’s secretary-general, said that he was “comfortable” with the present oil price of $60 to $70 per barrel, but would like it to be higher. “Prices at this time are comfortable, but they are not at the level we are shooting for,” he said.

OPEC also said that its total proven reserves of crude oil had risen by 7.9 per cent last year to 1.027 trillion barrels. This was chiefly thanks to a reappraisal of Venezuela’s oil reserves, which rose to 172 billion barrels in 2008, from 99 billion in 2007.

If the figures are correct, that would move Venezuela from fifth to second place in a ranking of different countries’ oil reserves. Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest proven reserves at 264 billion barrels.
Iran and Iraq had previously been viewed as holding the second and third-biggest reserves, with 138 billion and 115 billion barrels respectively.
Many analysts have suggested that Opec’s reserves figures may be exaggerated.


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