Oil price fall tips OPEC current account into deficit in 2015

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…First since 1998

OPEC’s 2015 oil export revenues slumped 46 percent to a 10-year low, the group said in a report published, underlining the impact on producers’ income from a collapse in prices.

Oil prices at about $50 a barrel are half their level in mid-2014, pressured by oversupply. OPEC’s decision in November 2014 to not cut supply, hoping a drop in prices would curb supply from competitors, deepened the decline.

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With income falling, the 13 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, posted a combined current account deficit of $99.60 billion in 2015, compared with a surplus of $238.10 billion in 2014.

They earned $518.2 billion from petroleum exports last year, OPEC said in its Annual Statistical Bulletin, the lowest level since 2005.

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“The last time OPEC recorded a current account deficit was in 1998,” the report said. Prices sank to $10 that year because of a global surplus.

OPEC’s crude oil exports rose only “slightly” last year to 23.60 million barrels per day (b/d), up 1.7 percent from 23.20 million b/d the previous year, the report said.

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The OPEC publication doesn’t forecast 2016 income. But a report earlier this month from the U.S. Energy Information Administration said 2016 oil export revenues will probably fall 15 percent before rising in 2017.

OPEC’s proven crude oil reserves rose by 0.1 percent last year and it maintained its share of 81.2 percent of the world total, the OPEC report said.
*Alex Lawler; Editing by Ruth Pitchford – Reuters

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