Last year, it turns out, wasn’t a very good year for OPEC’s mighty oil drillers either.
Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries earned $404 billion in net oil export revenue in 2015, a 46 percent decline from $753 billion earned a year earlier, and the lowest export revenue total since 2004, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Moreover, OPEC export revenue is expected to fall by another $63 billion, to $341 billion in 2016, the administration said, before recovering to 427 billion in 2017.
The collapse of oil prices — Brent spot prices dropped to $38 in December 2015 from $112 per barrel in June 2014 — has hammered some OPEC countries that rely heavily on oil exports.
Persian Gulf countries, with “sizeable financial assets,” were not as affected, the energy administration said. But countries like Nigeria, Venezuela and Iraq — where oil makes up 99 percent of total export revenue — were more gravely injured by the price crash.
Production outages haven’t helped. In Venezuela, oil service companies have largely stopped work after state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela stopped paying its bills. Libyan crude oil production has struggled since the fall of the Gadhafi regime in 2011, as opposing factions fought for control of the country’s oil export terminals. In Nigeria, continuing militant attacks since the start of 2016 have targeted oil and natural gas terminals and pipelines.