LONDON (June 28): Last year’s recovery in oil demand was very kind to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel.
The group’s export revenue surged by 77% to US$560 billion as global fuel consumption rebounded from the Covid-19 crisis. Prices were also supported as the organisation kept supplies tight — partly at the behest of leader Saudi Arabia, and partly because other nations were unable to raise output.
The recovery still left its annual windfall a little short of levels reached in 2019, and considerably below the US$687 billion earned the year before, the OPEC showed in its annual statistical bulletin on Tuesday.
This year looks set to surpass those lofty heights. Brent crude futures have averaged just under US$105 a barrel so far, about 46% higher than four years ago. Meanwhile, production is heading towards record levels in Saudi Arabia, which earned US$1 billion a day from oil exports in March.
Oil prices have soared about 50% this year as crude production and refining facilities around the world fail to keep pace with the post-pandemic recovery in fuel demand, while the backlash against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine poses the biggest supply disruption in decades.
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