OPEC production is highest in four years after Middle East oil output increases

oil-retofetz-flickrSaudi Arabia, the biggest OPEC member, is ready to pare oil supply only if oil producers outside OPEC are willing to share the burden of costs. (Image source: Retofetz/Flickr)As Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Libya increased their oil output amid a stronger global demand for the commodity, OPEC production climbed the highest ever in almost four years, said the International Energy Agency (IEA)

OPEC nations raised outout by 890,000 barrels a day to 31.02mn in March 2015 – the biggest monthly gain since June 2011 based on IEA estimates. The agency’s preliminary data has suggested that output is likely to increase this month.

OPEC’s biggest member Saudi Arabia led the increase with growth of 390,000 barrels a day to 10.1mn a day in March – the highest since September 2013 and close to record levels, the IEA said. Iraq output rose to 350,000 barrels a day to 3.67mn a day as good weather in the Persian Gulf enabled the country to export a record three million barrels a day. Libya revived production by 190,000 barrels a day to 480,000 a day despite conflicts in the country.

However, the IEA cut its prediction for the USA and Canadian oil supply growth by the second half of the year.

Oil prices are 45 per cent lower than they were a year ago, trading at US$59 a barrel today as OPEC maintains a policy of defending market share in response to the booming USA shale output.

Countries such as Iran and Libya are urging OPEC to support prices by curbing output, but Saudi Arabia in keen that OPEC should pare supply only if producers outside the group share the burden too, added IEA. 

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