OPEC Crude Output Climbs Above 30 Million bpd in May

OPEC crude production climbed above 30 million barrels per day (mil b/d) in May for the first time since October 2004, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials showed June 8. Production from all eleven members averaged 30.02-mil b/d in May, up a net 60,000 b/d from April's 29.96-mil b/d, the survey showed.

Excluding Iraq, which does not participate in OPEC's production management system, the ten members with crude output quotas pumped 28.2-mil b/d, up 100,000 b/d from April's 28.1-mil b/d.

"It's a report like this that really sums up just where OPEC is, and where the Saudis are as well," said John Kingston, global director of oil at Platts. "The Iraqis are struggling; there's no sign of a turnaround in Venezuelan output; only minor increases come from big producers like Iran. Meanwhile, the Saudis put another mildly significant increase on to the market. This appears to be the status quo, with the only significant change likely to come if the Saudis, down the road, feel they need to tap their surge capacity."

Increases totaling 180,000 b/d from Algeria, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia were offset by 120,000 b/d in declines from Iraq, the UAE and Venezuela. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait each pushed out an extra 50,000 b/d, with smaller boosts of 30,000 b/d each from Iran--where Shell has been building up production from the Soroush and Nowruz fields--and Nigeria and 10,000 b/d each from Algeria and Libya.

Iraqi production and exports have been severely constrained by infrastructure problems in the south, while security concerns in the north continue to overshadow any prospect of regular exports through Turkey. UAE production was down around 2.4-mil b/d in May as field maintenance programs got under way. Venezuelan production, yet to recover from a crippling two- month strike in the winter of 2002/2003, dropped back to around 2.65-mil b/d from 2.68-mil b/d in April.

The May output estimates for the OPEC-10 put actual output some 600,000 b/d above the group's 27.5-mil b/d ceiling agreed in March in Isfahan. Next week's OPEC meeting in Vienna could see the ceiling increased to keep pace with actual output, according to OPEC's Kuwaiti president Sheikh Ahmed Fahed al-Sabah who said Tuesday he would propose that the ceiling be raised by 500,000 b/d if prices remained high. Such an increase would bring the ceiling in line with actual output, he said.

    Country-by-country breakdown of production with figures in millions of

    Country      May 05   Apr 05   Mar 05   Feb 05   Jan 05   Dec 04    Quota

    Algeria       1.310    1.300    1.300    1.290    1.290    1.290    0.878
    Indonesia     0.950    0.950    0.950    0.960    0.960    0.960    1.425
    Iran          3.980    3.950    3.980    3.930    3.900    3.900    4.037
    Iraq          1.820    1.860    1.850    1.850    1.850    1.840      N/A
    Kuwait        2.550    2.500    2.450    2.430    2.400    2.420    2.207
    Libya         1.630    1.620    1.620    1.610    1.610    1.630    1.473
    Nigeria       2.400    2.370    2.350    2.350    2.300    2.280    2.265
    Qatar         0.780    0.780    0.780    0.780    0.780    0.800    0.713
    Saudi Arabia  9.550    9.500    9.400    9.250    9.100    9.500    8.937
    UAE           2.400    2.450    2.450    2.450    2.400    2.480    2.400
    Venezuela     2.650    2.680    2.700    2.680    2.700    2.650    3.165
    Total        30.020   29.960   29.830   29.580   29.290   29.750      N/A
    OPEC 10
     Iraq)       28.200   28.100   27.980   27.730   27.440   27.910   27.500

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