Gulf Times - 3/6/2006
The average price of Qatari crude oil in the first three months of this year was almost 121% higher than the conservative estimate of $27/barrel on which the budget was estimated, sources said yesterday.
The average price of Qatari crude in the first three months was $59.72 a barrel. And by April end, the average price stood at $61.21, they said.
Sources said the surplus in the 2005-2006 budget would have been far greater than the QR218mn forecast by the Ministry of Finance. This was apparently due to the favourable oil price.
The details of the actual budget surplus in 2005-2006 are expected in a few days, they said.
Quoting a QNB study, an analyst said Qatar got an additional income of QR900mn when the oil price went up by $1 a barrel.
However, the study was based on the assumption that Qatar’s oil production stood at 700,000bpd. Qatar’s actual oil production has exceeded 800,000bpd.
“With the current price spike Qatar will not have to unduly worry about its foreign debt,” the analyst said.
“The government will have sufficient funds at hand to retire the debts. As in the past, surplus funds will be channelled into building up state reserves, enhancing infrastructure and boosting outlays primarily of two sectors - health and education”, he said.
The analyst also said there would not be any Qatari project that would be put off due to lack of funds.
Figures recently released by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce indicated that higher oil prices had driven Qatari GDP to a record QR125.56bn in 2005. The figures also indicated that the fourth quarter of 2005 saw the highest growth, reaching $9.6bnm up from $4.9bn in Q3, 2005.
The Qatari GDP in 2004 was QR104bn. In 2003 the GDP was QR86bn while in 2000 it was QR40bn, according to the Ministry of Economy and Commerce.
According to a recent Qatar Central Bank (QCB) estimate, Qatar’s budget for fiscal 2004-05 had generated a surplus of QR8.61bn.
Against total receipts of QR39.47bn the total expenditure stood at QR30.85bn.
The revenue earned by the oil and gas sector was QR21.8bn. The average oil price in 2004 was $35.19 a barrel.