OPEC’s income from oil and gas exports jumped 35 percent to more than $1 trillion last year as world oil prices hit record highs of almost $150 per barrel, the group said in its Annual Statistical Bulletin on Wednesday.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries saw the total value of its petroleum sales abroad reach almost $1,007 billion in 2008, up from $746 billion in 2007, which was itself a record.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil futures started 2008 at just under $100 per barrel, rose to a peak of more than $147 in July and then retreated to around $40 by the end of the year, giving an average price for 2008 of around $99, up from $72 in 2007.
OPEC, which groups 12 countries following the departure of Indonesia at the end of 2008, pumps around a third of the world’s oil and straddles almost four fifths of the world’s proven crude oil reserves.
The increase in prices last year kept all of OPEC’s members in current account surpluses with a group current account balance of $467 billion for the year, up 28 percent.
The world’s biggest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, earned $283 billion from petroleum exports last year, up from $206 billion in 2007, the report showed.
The increase helped push up Saudi Arabia’s national output by more than a quarter as its gross domestic product (GDP) rose to $482 billion in 2008, from $381 billion in 2007.
OPEC’s total GDP increased to $2.88 trillion last year from $2.27 trillion in 2007.
The group’s proven crude oil reserves grew 7.9 percent last year to 1.027 trillion barrels from 952 billion in 2007 and 940 billion in 2006, the report said.
The rise was mainly due to a reassessment of the proven crude oil reserves in Venezuela, which saw its reserves rise to 172 billion barrels in 2008, from 99 billion in 2007.
OPEC’s natural gas reserves rose 2 percent to more than 93 trillion cubic meters. The biggest OPEC gas reserves are beneath Iran, which had 29.6 trillion cubic meters of proven natural gas reserves last year, up from 28.1 trillion in 2007.
The second biggest reserves are held by Qatar, which had around 25.5 trillion cubic meters last year.
Analysts have questioned the size of reserves in Middle Eastern OPEC countries, but several producers, including leading exporter Saudi Arabia, have denied suggestions that their reserves have been exaggerated.
Saudi Arabia alone accounts for more than a quarter of OPEC’s crude oil reserves at 264 billion barrels.