Platts Says OPEC Output Up 290,000 BPD in February

Oil cartel OPEC took advantage of continuing high oil prices in February to boost crude production, ignoring a December pledge to remove overproduction beyond the official 27 million barrel per day (mil b/d) output ceiling, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials showed March 8.

Total OPEC output averaged 29.58-mil b/d in February, an increase of 290,000 b/d from January's 29.29-mil b/d. Excluding Iraq, whose output was unchanged from January at 1.85-mil b/d, the ten members with quotas pumped an average 27.73-mil b/d in February, up 290,000 b/d from January's 27.44-mil b/d.

"Higher prices inevitably lead to higher production, no matter what the official line on restraint might be," said John Kingston, global director of oil at Platts. "It is considered all but an impossibility that OPEC will cut production at its meeting next week in Iran, and it may be that market conditions by themselves are taking care of the consuming nations' need for more supply. That's what these numbers seem to show."

The biggest single increase came from Saudi Arabia, which raised production by 150,000 b/d to 9.25-mil b/d despite having previously announced that it was producing around 9-mil b/d in line with its December pledge. Other smaller increases totaling 160,000 b/d came from Iran, Kuwait, Nigeria and the UAE. Only one country reduced output, Venezuelan production slipping to 2.68-mil b/d in February from 2.7-mil b/d in January.

The latest estimates leave the so-called OPEC-10 overproducing their current 27-mil b/d ceiling by 730,000 b/d, and would appear to indicate that OPEC has abandoned its December agreement to remove around 1-mil b/d of oversupply from the market.

That agreement was made in Cairo in early December when ministers were spooked by the 25% drop in oil prices over the previous few weeks and decided to rein in leakage above official output limits. In January, OPEC-10 production fell by 470,000 b/d.

Country-by-country breakdown of production with figures in millions of b/d:


     Country         Feb 05  Jan 05  Dec 04  Nov 04  Oct 04  Sept 04  Quota
     Algeria         1.290   1.290   1.290   1.280   1.270   1.260    0.862
     Indonesia       0.960   0.960   0.960   0.950   0.950   0.950    1.399
     Iran            3.930   3.900   3.900   3.950   3.950   3.980    3.964
     Iraq            1.850   1.850   1.840   1.800   2.200   2.100    N/A
     Kuwait          2.430   2.400   2.420   2.420   2.420   2.380    2.167
     Libya           1.610   1.610   1.630   1.610   1.610   1.610    1.446
     Nigeria         2.350   2.300   2.280   2.380   2.400   2.380    2.224
     Qatar           0.780   0.780   0.800   0.800   0.800   0.800    0.700
     Saudi Arabia    9.250   9.100   9.500   9.500   9.550   9.580    8.775
     UAE             2.450   2.400   2.480   2.480   2.500   2.500    2.356
     Venezuela       2.680   2.700   2.650   2.650   2.650   2.650    3.107
     Total          29.580  29.290  29.750  29.820  30.300  30.190    N/A
     OPEC 10
      (excluding
       Iraq)        27.730  27.440  27.910  28.020  28.100  28.090   27.000
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