Iraq, Saudi Arabia lead rise in OPEC November oil output

OPEC HQ Istvan FlickrNo change in output policy is expected at the OPEC meeting later this week. (Image source: Istvan/Flickr)OPEC’s oil output has seen a marginal increase in November, compared to October 2015, according to a Reuters survey

The rise in output was led by a rebound in exports from Iraq, the group’s second-largest producer, where production had been temporarily affected due to bad weather. The increase from 31.64mn bpd in October to 31.77mn bpd last month means that OPEC is producing oil at levels close to its record high, as big producers within the block continue to focus on market share. Reuters arrived at the figures based on shipping data and information from sources at oil companies, OPEC and industry consultants.

Crude oil prices have fallen by more than half in the last 18 months, and at a meeting almost a year ago, OPEC had decided not to prop up prices by cutting its output. Since the decision in November 2014, OPEC boosted production by about 1.50mn bpd and current output is close to 31.88mn bpd in July 2015, which was the highest since Reuters began keeping records in 1997.

The biggest contribution to the monthly rise in output is from Iraq, which is now the world’s fastest growing source of supply growth. Exports from the country’s main outlet, its southern terminals, have risen to about 3.06mn bpd in November. An increase was also seen in the output from Saudi Arabia, which sent more crude abroad and used more in its own refineries, according to the survey.

Output from Iran, OPEC’s second-largest producer, remained flat in November. As sanctions against the country have been lifted and supply from the country comes back on track, its increasing output could take the group’s total supply to record levels in 2016.

The group will meet again later this week to review its policy, in which no change is expected.

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