Arab oil producers are on target this year to earn their highest annual oil revenues ever with prices averaging above US$100 a barrel for the first time.
That should provide many economies in the Middle East with a dramatic boost in hydrocarbon related revenues - Saudi Arabia is earning about US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) per day.
But could this crest of the wave signal the end of the easy-oil era, and what does it mean for the oil market outlook?
For much of the 20th century, the region has been blessed with a steady flow of low-cost oil production, thanks to its abundance of conventional reservoirs - in parts of Iraq crude oil has been known to bubble to the surface without any technical assistance.
But as a relatively mature oil producing region, there is renewed focus on improving recovery from many of the Middle East's largest fields. The world's largest reservoirs, such as Kuwait's Burgan and Saudi Arabia's giant Ghawar, have pumped more than half their recoverable reserves after 50 years - the point at which production traditionally begins to decline.
When Oman faced huge production declines in the past decade, it turned to enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technology to reverse the collapse and now these techniques are responsible for harvesting about a third of the country's production - which amounts to salvaging about $30 million a day in oil revenue at current prices.
The state-owned Saudi Aramco is currently evaluating the use of carbon dioxide injection technology to avert production declines and plans a series of pilot programmes in mature oil fields such as Ghawar, the world's largest, by next year.
The US Geological Survey estimates there are some three trillion barrels of heavy oil in the world, about 100 years of global consumption at current levels. The catch: only a fraction of it - about 400 billion barrels - can be recovered using existing technology. New techniques are required to unlock more.
There are an estimated 970 billion barrels of heavy and extra-heavy crude oil reserves known in the Middle East region, but until now much of it has been left undeveloped because there has been so much easily accessible oil to develop. But with ageing reservoirs and prices exceeding $100 per barrel, the economics of using EOR to go after heavy oil extraction become more attractive.
Global EOR spending has leapt from a standing start over the past decade to almost $100bn and is expected to continue growing rapidly with the support of government investment as we have seen in Oman, the UAE and now Saudi Arabia.
In US, the department of energy has estimated full use of EOR technology in US oilfields could generate an additional 240 billion barrels of recoverable resources, which at current oil prices amounts to about $24 trillion, almost 50 per cent more than the national debt.
EOR is a series of techniques used to increase the amount of oil that can be extracted from any particular reservoir. During its life cycle, an oilfield goes through a number of distinct phases where various techniques are employed to maintain crude oil production at plateau levels - primary, secondary and tertiary recovery.
Arab oil producers are entering the tertiary phase, that requires techniques such as injecting steam, gas or chemicals into a reservoir to make the oil thinner and easier to extract from tight rock formations.
EOR played a significant role in salvaging the Omani oil industry, which was facing significant production declines - between 2001 and 2007 Oman's oil production fell by 27 per cent. But by 2009, due mostly to EOR projects, oil production had increased by 17 per cent.
In total, four major Omani projects are planned to start by next year, with at least another two expected to start soon after. By next year, Oman is expected to be producing between 250,000 and 300,000 barrels of oil per day using EOR methods, about a third of the country's total output.
In the UAE, the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco) initiated an EOR project in November 2009 to test the injection of carbon dioxide into the North-East Bab field, a complex carbonate reservoir. Adco's main objectives for utilising carbon dioxide EOR techniques are to significantly increase recoverable reserves, sustain long-term production and maximise ultimate recovery. The high oil price has resulted in significant investment in EOR methods globally, and has already borne fruit in arresting the decline in US oil production.
EOR methods, along with advanced technologies designed to extract unconventional oil and gas, could ultimately significantly increase the supply of oil around the world, forcing many Middle Eastern oil exporters to rethink their strategies.
(Stuart Walley is the regional manager for Senergy in the Middle East and India).