OPEC 10 Produces 1.65 Million B/D Above Self-Imposed Ceiling

OPEC's eleven members, including Iraq, pumped an average 28.1 million barrels per day (mil b/d) of crude in January, an increase of 350,000 b/d from December's 27.75-mil b/d, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials showed Feb 6.

Output from the ten members bound by quotas rose by 300,000 b/d to average 26.15-mil b/d in January-1.65-mil b/d more than their 24.5-mil b/d ceiling.

All members increased production apart from Algeria, whose output was steady at 1.17-mil b/d, and Indonesia, whose production dipped below the 1-mil b/d mark to average 990,000 b/d over the month. Increases ranged from 10,000 b/d in the case of Venezuela to 80,000 b/d in the case of Saudi Arabia.

The survey estimated Iraqi production at 1.95-mil b/d, up 50,000 b/d month-on-month, although exports from the Basrah Oil Terminal in the south were flat around 1.54-mil b/d, the consequence of weather-related loading delays.

"OPEC is not expected to change its official ceiling and quotas at the upcoming Feb 10 meeting in Algiers but -- especially now that the basket appears to be moving back down towards the $22-28/bbl target range -- could well stress the importance of quota compliance," said John Kingston, global director of oil at Platts.

"The basket, which has now been above the target band for two months and has moved in excess of $31/bbl, stood at $28.20/bbl Thursday," Kingston said. "Rather than using the so-called price band mechanism which permits a 500,000 b/d output increase once the basket has spent 20 straight trading days above the band, OPEC -- concerned about projected lower demand in the spring -- has turned a blind eye to the overproduction."

The rising volume of leakage also throws a spotlight on the requests from Algeria, Libya and Nigeria for disproportionate quota increases to reflect increasing capacity levels, although OPEC is not seen as likely to come up with a solution in the short term.

Country Jan 04 Dec 03 Nov 03 Quota
Nov 2003
Oct 03 Sept 03
Algeria 1.170 1.170 1.170 0.782 1.170 1.170
Indonesia 0.990 1.000 1.010 1.270 1.010 1.000
Iran 3.900 3.850 3.810 3.597 3.770 3.790
Iraq 1.950 1.900 1.890 N/A 1.700 1.430
Kuwait 2.230 2.170 1.170 1.966 2.190 2.170
Libya 1.440 1.420 1.430 1.312 1.440 1.440
Nigeria 2.330 2.290 2.240 2.018 2.230 2.210
Qatar 0.750 0.730 0.740 0.635 0.740 0.750
Saudi Arabia 8.530 8.450 8.310 7.963 8.430 8.500
UAE 2.250 2.220 2.170 2.138 2.230 2.260
Venezuela 2.560 2.550 2.580 2.819 2.600 2.560
Total 28.100 27.750 27.520 N/A 27.510 27.280
OPEC 10
Excluding Iraq
26.150 25.850 25.630 24.500 25.810 25.850
   - All numbers given are millions of barrels of oil per day
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