OPEC oil production drops three per cent in one month

oil-OPECOPEC has predicted that this year would see a higher-than-expected demand for oil produced by the cartel, at the expense of North American and other non-OPEC producers. (Image source: Sergio Russo/Flickr)Oil production from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decreased to 29.94mn bpd in January 2015 from 30.03mn bpd in December last year, according to recently released Platts survey

The combined output from the 12-member group fell 90,000 bpd month over month, dipping below 30mn bpd in January this year as the Iraqi and Libyan supply fell more than production increases in Angola, Kuwait, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the UAEs.

OPEC had last pumped less than its 30mn bpd output ceiling in June last year.

Platts senior correspondent Margaret McQuaile said, “The slight drop in total OPEC volumes in January is due entirely to Iraq and Libya.

“However, Baghdad has scheduled record exports for February, so even if actual liftings don’t quite match up, and barring any unforeseen disruption, we’re still likely to see more out of Iraq. But Libya is a different kettle of fish. Given the political upheaval, production seems unlikely to stage any meaningful recovery any time soon.”

The Iraqi output, estimated at 3.1mn bpd in January, had risen to 3.4mn bpd in December last year when northern exports resumed through Turkey under an agreement with autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The drop in January was concentrated in the south, where crude quality issues kept some lifters away from the offshore single buoy moorings, the study added.

Libyan production slid by 130,000 bpd to 330,000 bpd in January as the impact of the closure of the major ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf in mid-December had a knock-on effect on field operations, Platts noted.

Most of Libya’s main producing fields are closed, but oil has continued to flow from its offshore projects and other fields throughout the country.

Increased exports boosted Angolan supply by 120,000 bpd to 1.75mn bpd, while Nigerian output rose by 50,000 bpd to 1.98mn bpd, the survey found.

Top producer Saudi Arabia, which drove OPEC’s 27 November 2014 decision to maintain the group’s official production ceiling at 30mn bpd despite falling oil prices, boosted output by 100,000 bpd to 9.7mn bpd, Platts revealed.

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