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4/22/2019 5:32:20 PM
Posted: 11/21/2008 5:56:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/21/2008 5:57:53 AM EDT by 5subslr5]
Stumbled on this info and thought it might be of interest.

The UAE can make money at anything over $23 per barrel !!








5sub


IMF's Break-Even Price

A recent study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggests that the average break-even oil price at which a country would achieve a fiscal balance is $57 per barrel in 2008, "demonstrating that most oil exporters can easily absorb lower oil prices." Exceptions include Iraq, which is expected to run a small fiscal deficit with the current oil prices levels, and Iran where the fiscal position may turn into a deficit if oil prices dip below $90 per barrel, which they already have.

The following is a list of selected oil exporters' break-even prices for 2008 Fiscal Accounts (in US$/barrel):(10)

Algeria 56
Kuwait 33
Iran 90
Bahrain 75
Iraq 111
Oman 77
Libya 47
Qatar 24
Saudi Arabia 49
UAE 23






Here's the entire scintillating read:


Oil-Producing Countries in Middle East Face Plummeting Oil Prices


By: Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli*

U.S. and the Middle East|#475| November 19, 2008






Table of Contents:

Introduction
Falling Crude Price and the Financial Crisis
OPEC Cuts Production
IMF's Break-Even Price
The Risk of Faltering Reforms
How to Live on $20 a Barrel
Crisis Spillover
Looking Into the Future
Conclusion
Notes



Introduction

After a hefty spike in oil prices in the preceding year, reaching as high as $147 a barrel in July 2008, prices plummeted in the subsequent four months to below $55 a barrel on the close of trading day of November 14 – a a sharp price decline of close to two-thirds. The decline is quite far-reaching, given that oil revenues provide 70 to 80 percent of government revenues in OPEC countries. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) a decline of $1 in the price of crude would translate into a loss in revenues of $3.5 billion in Saudi Arabia, $300 million in Qatar, $1 billion in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and $960 million in Kuwait, calculated in an annualized basis.(1) Some of the countries concerned, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, have deep pockets and would survive the dip in revenues, certainly in the short term. According to data from the Institute of International Finance, GCC governments had foreign assets of $1.8 trillion at the end of 2007, and the tally was expected to top $2 trillion by end of the 2008.(2) In other countries, particularly Iran and Iraq, oil shocks could trigger serious economic dislocation.(3)


Falling Crude Price and the Financial Crisis

The sharp decline in the price of crude has coincided with, and perhaps resulted from, a global financial crisis, and the two issues have become intractably intertwined. Through November 12, the stock exchange of Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait declined by 62.5 percent, 50.4 percent and 29.5 percent, respectively.(4) On November 14 alone, the Saudi stock exchange declined by more than 7%. A Kuwaiti court took the unprecedented step of ordering a closure of the Kuwaiti stock exchange for a few days, to stop the hemorrhaging.(5) The broad MSCI Arabian Market Index recorded a loss of $256 billion in the market capitalization of the 15 MENA (Middle East and North Africa) stock exchanges in the month of October.(6) By one estimate, the losses in the various stock markets, the decline in the price of real estate, and the losses suffered by the sovereign wealth funds on their investments in both Western and emerging markets were estimated at $750 billion.(7)

Moreover, the Arab oil producing countries have parked between $1.6 and $1.8 trillion in the West in liquid assets, and financial experts in the region are in no position to assess the impact of the financial turmoil on these assets. Equally as troubling has been the withdrawal by Western investors of a vast amount of cash invested in liquid assets in the Gulf countries to cover obligations in their home countries. (8)

OPEC Cuts Production

To stem the sharp and sudden decline in the price of crude, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided, in its emergency meeting in Vienna on October 24, to cut output by 1 million b/d (barrel/day), effective December 1. The problem for OPEC has always been whether members "strictly comply" with production targets. "Cheating," particularly during periods of falling prices of crude, is common.

The role of Saudi Arabia during this time of crisis is unique. Saudi Arabia is OPEC's lynchpin and its largest oil exporter by far. The Saudi position has been that it would supply its customers as demanded, and the country has the capacity and the willingness to balance markets with incremental crude, and this position has been firm regardless of what OPEC decides. For example, before the recent plunge in prices, the Saudi were producing 700,000 b/d over their quota of 8.94 million b/d. The position was reiterated by Saudi King Abdullah at the recent economic summit held in Washington. King Abdullah said: "We will continue to fulfill our role in ensuring the stability of the oil market."(9)


IMF's Break-Even Price

A recent study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggests that the average break-even oil price at which a country would achieve a fiscal balance is $57 per barrel in 2008, "demonstrating the most oil exporters can easily absorb lower oil prices." Exceptions include Iraq, which is expected to run a small fiscal deficit with the current oil prices levels, and Iran where the fiscal position may turn into a deficit if oil prices dip below $90 per barrel, which they already have.

The following is a list of selected oil exporters' break-even prices for 2008 Fiscal Accounts (in US$/barrel):(10)

Algeria 56
Kuwait 33
Iran 90
Bahrain 75
Iraq 111
Oman 77
Libya 47
Qatar 24
Saudi Arabia 49
UAE 23
Average GCC 47


The Risk of Faltering Reforms

For most oil producing countries, oil revenues are the backbone of their national revenues and a major source of financing of their oil and infrastructure projects. In the case of Iran, oil revenues serve to bolster the regime's populist programs, including the subsidies for key food items as well as for gasoline – more than half of which is imported due to limited refining capacity. For the others, the decline of revenues will cancel or put on hold a variety of both upstream and downstream oil projects, including exploration and the development of the oil-based integrated refinery-petrochemical links as well as the gas-based petrochemical and fertilizer links.

The financial turmoil may also have more fundamental consequences for the Middle East economies beyond the reduced financial sector profitability and the losses suffered by investors. One particular analysis warns against "faltering reform" which is far more significant than the real threat of faltering asset prices. In most MENA countries, there has been a move in recent years towards economic and financial reform. Foreign investors have been encouraged to take significant stakes in state-owned banks. The fact that Western governments are taking control of private sector banks "hardly strengthens the hand of the Middle East reformers keen to privatize their own lumbering state-owned institutions."(11) There is also a greater concern that, as a result of the perception of market failure in the West, the drive for a free-market economy will be stalled, if not abandoned.


How to Live on $20 a Barrel

Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, director-general of Saudi satellite TV Al-Arabiya and columnist for (and former editor of) the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat offers an uncommon perspective on the challenges facing the Gulf countries in the event that crude prices dip all the way down to $20 a barrel. He considers the shock a blessing in disguise, a warning for self-reliance, and an opportunity for reform. The reform, according to Al-Rashid, must focus on the education system: "We do not need $100 a barrel to reform our education. Teaching students more chemistry, physics and mathematics will not require a single additional dollar, but will produce more than our existing educational system…Weak instruction produces [an] emaciated society."(12)


Crisis Spillover

Oil prices, like the prices of many other commodities, are cyclical and hence subject to sharp fluctuations. The recent slide in the price of crude has come at the heel of five years of prices moving in the opposite direction. Most likely, this pattern of sharp price fluctuations will continue into the future. No less than the International Energy Agency, which represents the interests of the large Western consumers, has projected that oil prices will rebound to more than $100 a barrel as soon as the world economy recovers, and will exceed $200 by 2030.(14) This view was understandably shared by oil-producing countries, and was articulated by UAE Energy Minister Mohammad Al-Hamli, who told reporters: "It is very important to continue investing to maintain and increase capacity in order to be prepared for the next [price] cycle." He characterized the decline as just a "price cycle."(15) The consensus in the GCC countries is that, barring a protracted fall in oil prices, the six GCC economies will not be exposed to systemic shocks due to solid macro and banking system fundamentals.(16)

A similarly optimistic view was expressed by Abdullah Jum'ah, the outgoing chief executive officer of the Saudi national oil company Aramco: "Global energy demand is set for a sustained increase, notwithstanding the current dip in consumption and the widespread uncertainty we see in the global economy."(17)



Looking Into the Future

In an editorial in the Syrian government daily Teshreen , editor 'Issam Dari described Syria and Lebanon as "twin countries," stressing that nothing could drive them apart: "When the Lebanese president arrives in Damascus, a new page will be opened [in Syrian-Lebanese relations], which will be built on trust, dialogue and brotherhood, and will draw on historical ties, which have endured by mutual consent of both sides. We must not forget that for decades hundreds of families have been split between the twin countries, and that the connection between them cannot be severed – nor will anyone be able to do this, no matter what tools of destruction and schemes he has at his disposal.

"There is no subject that cannot be discussed between brothers, and no issue that cannot be solved. All this has nothing to do with outside interference, which will bring nothing but trouble, disaster, and destruction. The [Syrians and Lebanese alone] know what their interests and wishes are, and only they will determine their present and future and defend their history."(18)

Conclusion

The global financial turmoil has impacted the oil-producing countries, particularly the members of the GCC, in at least three ways: crude price has declined by almost two-thirds in a three-month span, foreign investments have dried up, and the demand for the region's energy-intensive industrial and building materials will likely slow down the pace of economic growth. Major development projects may have to await better times.

The various economies of the oil-producing countries are in different stages of readiness for the sharp decline of revenues. Most obviously, how these countries would fare depends on the duration of the financial crisis and how much deeper, if at all, oil prices will plunge.

Iran, the second largest oil producer among OPEC members, is likely to feel the pain of declining oil prices more severely than any other oil-producing country in the Middle East. Unlike the GCC member countries, Iran's price stabilization fund, which was to receive windfall profits to be used when oil revenues decline, has been nearly depleted as a result of poorly managed economic policies by the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The criticism in the Iranian press of Ahmadinejad's stewardship of the national economy is a daily occurrence.

While further decline in the price of crude cannot be discounted, the long-term prospects remain quite positive for the oil-producing countries. After the financial crisis exhausts itself, economic growth will resume and so will the demand for energy. This is a matter of years, not decades.

The major risk for the industrialized countries is that the sharp dip in crude price has a tendency to dampen official enthusiasm and correspondingly shelve promising programs in the search of alternative sources of energy.


ANNEX

Table 1: Crude Oil Production and Exports (in brackets) (millions of barrels)
Average Est. Proj. Proj.
2000-04 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Algeria 1.0 (0.5) 1.4 (1.0) 1.4 (0.9) 1.4 (0.9) 1.4 (0.9) 1.4 (0.9)
Iran 3.6 (2.3) 4.0 (2.4) 4.1 (2.4) 4.1 (2.5) 4.2 (2.5) 4.3 (2.6)
Iraq … 1.9 (1.4) 2.0 (1.4) 2.0 (1.6) 2.3 (1.8) 2.5 (1.9)
Kuwait 2.0 (1.2) 2.6 (1.7) 2.6 (1.7) 2.6 (1.6) 2.6 (1.6) 2.7 (1.7)
Libya 1.4 (1.1) 1.7 (1.3) 1.8 (1.4) 1.8 (1.5) 1.9 (1.5) 2.0 (1.6)
Qatar 0.7 (0.7) 0.8 (0.7) 0.8 (0.7) 0.8 (0.7) 0.9 (0.8) 0.9 (0.8)
S. Arabia 8.1 (6.2) 9.4 (7.2) 9.2 (7.0) 8.8 (7.0) 9.5 (7.5) 9.6 (7.6)
UAE 2.2 (2.0) 2.4 (2.2) 2.6 (2.4) 2.7 (2.5) 2.8 (2.6) 2.8 (2.6)

Source (adapted), IMF, op.cit. p.40

Table 2: Oil and Non-Oil GDP Growth from Oil Exports (annual change in percentage)

Average Est Proj. Proj.
(2000-04) 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Iran 6.0 5.3 6.2 7.0 5.9 5.4
Kuwait 11.7 11.4 9.0 9.8 9.9 8.3
Libya 0.2 15.8 10.7 14.7 10.2 11.4
Oman 6.7 7.3 8.4 9.0 8.5 7.3
Qatar 9.4 13.1 19.9 14.5 14.0 12.4
S. Arabia 3.7 5.2 4.9 4.9 5.3 5.5
UAE 9.2 10.8 10.4 8.8 8.1 7.1

Source, IMF, op.cit., p. 39S

*Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli is Senior Analyst (emeritus) at MEMRI.





–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––­–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Notes

(1) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), November 16, 2008.
(2) Gulfnews.com, November 16, 2008.
(3) With regard to Iran, see Nimrod Raphaeli, "Plummeting Oil Prices – Iran’s Options," MEMRI Inquiry &Analysis No. 471, October 30, 2008, http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=ia&ID=IA47108.
(4) Al-Jazeera TV news program, November 13, 2008.
(5) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 14, 2008.
(6) BusinessIntelligence, November 11, 2008.
(7) Al-Dustour (Jordan), November 3, 2008. The estimates were provided by Dr. Mohammad al-Khalaiqa, former Jordanian deputy prime minister.
(8) The Peninsula (UAE), November 12, 2008.
(9) 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), November 17, 2008.
(10) International Monetary Fund, Regional Economic Outlook—Middle East and Central Asia, Washington, D.C. 2008. P.30.
(11) Andrew Cunningham, "The Real Threat to Middle East Economics: From Global Financial Market Turmoil: Not Falling Asset Prices But Faltering Reform," Middle East Economic Survey, 51:42, 20 October 2008.
(12) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), November 13, 2008.
(13) BusinessIntelligence, November 5, 2008.
(14) The Financial Times, November 6, 2008.
(15) BusinessIntelligence, November 4, 2008.
(16) Arab News (Saudi Arabia), November 5, 2008.
(17) BusinessIntelligence, November 8, 2008.







http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=ia&ID=IA47508
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