U.S. sees OPEC's 2009 oil exports back over $400 billion
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The prospect for higher crude oil prices later in the year will boost OPEC's oil export revenues above $400 billion for 2009, the U.S. government's top energy forecasting agency said on Wednesday.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration revised up its estimate for OPEC's oil export earnings for this year to $402 billion, about $15 billion more than the agency forecast last month.
That would still be way down from last year's record $971 billion in revenue and would rank as the lowest earnings for the producer group in five years.
OPEC revenue is set to rise to $530 billion in 2010, the EIA said.
The agency had projected last summer, when oil was trading around a record $147 a barrel, that OPEC would make $1.3 trillion this year off crude exports.
However, a weak global economy has reduced oil demand and pushed crude prices to below $36 this week. OPEC members have been cutting back on their production to try to prop up prices.
The EIA estimates that OPEC members are meeting about 2.6 million barrels a day of the 4.2 million barrels per day pledged in production cuts.
With OPEC output compliance at nearly two-thirds, the result has been fewer oil exports, which contributes to the drop in earnings compared to last year.
OPEC meets again on March 15 to decide whether further production cuts are needed.
(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by Christian Wiessner)
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