OPEC Revenues at 10-Year Low, Posts First Collective Deficit Since 1998

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Thursday June 23, 2016

With $518.2 billion in 2015 crude and refined fuel sales, revenues for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has dropped a massive $438 billion, the lowest figure since 2005, according to the cartel's Annual Statistical Bulletin.

The lost revenue caused OPEC nations to post their first account deficit since 1998, at $99.6 billion, compared with a surplus in 2014 of $238.1 billion; 1998 was the year an Asian economic crisis helped drive OPEC's oil prices down to about $10 per barrel.

The report went on to note that OPEC member drilling activity declined last year, with the number of rigs dropping by 60 to 887 - but it pointed out that rig reductions in other parts of the world were far more severe.

Offsetting but not fully compensating for the bad news was OPEC's exporting activity for 2015: it increased by 1.7 percent to 23.6 million barrels per day (bpd), thanks to Iraq's aggressive post-sanctions return to the international market and Saudi Arabia charging full steam ahead to maximize output and marginalize U.S. shale producers.

Saudi production rose by 4.9 percent to 10.1 million bpd in 2015, and its exports held steady at 7.1 million bpd.

While these figures are not surprising to insiders, they are nonetheless unwelcome, especially in wake of worsening conditions in several OPEC member countries, chief amongst them being Venezuela, which as was reported this week posted a 4.8 percent decline in production for May to 2.37 million bpd, and whose economy appears to be on the brink of total collapse.