OPEC Output Up 80,000 Barrels Per Day in August

Total OPEC crude output edged up by just 80,000 barrels per day in August to an average 29.75 million barrels per day (mil b/d), constrained by a new spate of export difficulties for Iraq, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials showed September 10.

Excluding Iraq, however, the so-called OPEC-10 produced an average 27.97- mil b/d in August, an increase of 250,000 b/d from July's 27.72-mil b/d.

Saudi Arabia maintained production at the higher levels aimed at cooling down steaming oil prices, pushing output up by a further 100,000 b/d to 9.5- mil b/d. Indications from the kingdom earlier this week suggested that the Saudis planned to maintain crude volumes around the 9.4-9.5-mil b/d level in September.

"While consumers can certainly feel encouraged by the continuing surge in OPEC output, that upward movement keeps bringing the world closer to 100% of capacity utilization," said John Kingston, global director of oil at Platts. "This growth in output is not showing signs of building significant amounts of inventory, and it raises the question of where the spare supply is going to come from should there be a disruption or a colder than average winter. It is important to note that we are about to begin the fourth quarter-traditionally the period of highest global demand for oil."

Iraqi output, which had averaged 1.95-mil b/d in July, fell by 170,000 b/d to average just 1.78-mil b/d. The only other country to see its volumes fall was Indonesia, which pumped an average 950,000 b/d over the month, down from 960,000 b/d July. Iran and Nigeria maintained output at July levels of 3.98- mil b/d and 2.4-mil b/d respectively.

Algeria, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, the UAE and Venezuela provided smaller increases ranging between 10,000 b/d in the case of Algeria and Qatar and 60,000 b/d in the case of Kuwait.

With oil prices remaining stubbornly high, OPEC has encouraged its members to open the taps, and the latest output boosts have taken OPEC-10 production close to 2-mil b/d above their 26-mil b/d ceiling.

There has been some talk of raising the ceiling to bring the ceiling and quotas in line with actual output when OPEC meets next Wednesday in Vienna. But a senior OPEC delegate told Platts September 9 that there was a "strong possibility" the cartel would simply maintain the status quo in order to avoid any disagreement.


Country-by-country breakdown of production with figures in millions of
    b/d:
                                                            Quota-  Quota-
    Country      Aug 04   July 04  June 04  May 04  Apr 04   Jul 1   Aug 1
    Algeria       1.260    1.250    1.200    1.170   1.150   0.814   0.830
    Indonesia     0.950    0.960    0.970    0.970   0.980   1.322   1.347
    Iran          3.980    3.980    3.960    3.920   3.880   3.744   3.817
    Iraq          1.780    1.950    1.700    1.900   2.380    N/A     N/A
    Kuwait        2.380    2.350    2.350    2.300   2.210   2.046   2.087
    Libya         1.610    1.590    1.540    1.470   1.460   1.365   1.392
    Nigeria       2.400    2.400    2.400    2.350   2.350   2.101   2.142
    Qatar         0.790    0.780    0.780    0.760   0.740   0.661   0.674
    Saudi Arabia  9.500    9.400    9.100    8.600   8.300   8.288   8.450
    UAE           2.450    2.390    2.380    2.260   2.100   2.225   2.269
    Venezuela     2.650    2.620    2.560    2.560   2.520   2.934   2.992
    Total        29.750   29.670   28.940   28.260  28.070    N/A     N/A
    OPEC 10
    (excluding
     Iraq)       27.970   27.720   27.240   26.360  25.690  25.500  26.000
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