Platts: OPEC Output Down 250,000 Barrels Per Day in December

OPEC crude production fell by 250,000 b/d in December to average 29.8-mil b/d over the month as Iraq's output and export difficulties intensified and pipeline sabotage shut in some Nigerian production, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials shows. A 50,000 b/d decline in Saudi production also contributed to the decline from November's 30.05-mil b/d.

It was the first time the group's output had fallen below 30-mil b/d since last spring. OPEC production was last below the 30-mil b/d level in April last year when it averaged 29.96-mil b/d.

Excluding Iraq, the ten members with quotas under a notional 28-mil b/d output ceiling produced an average 28.25-mil b/d in December, 100,000 b/d lower than November's 28.35-mil b/d.

The combination of sabotage, a prolonged spate of rough weather and some technical problems slashed Iraqi volumes further, to 1.55-mil b/d in December from 1.7-mil b/d in November.

Nigerian production fell back to around 2.42-mil b/d from 2.45-mil b/d in November after an attack on a major pipeline forced Shell to shut in some production.

Saudi Arabian production dipped by 50,000 b/d to 9.5-mil b/d and Iranian and Kuwaiti production slipped by 20,000 b/d and 10,000 b/d to 3.93-mil b/d and 2.54-mil b/d respectively. Other members kept their volumes around November levels, with a small 10,000 b/d increase in UAE output.

At its December 12 meeting in Kuwait, OPEC decided to keep the official ceiling and quotas unchanged but fixed an extraordinary meeting for Jan 31 and hinted that it might be necessary to rein in production early in 2006 to deal with any drop in demand after the winter.


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


    Country          Dec 05    Nov 05    Oct 05    Sept 05    Aug 05    Quota
    Algeria           1.370     1.370     1.360      1.350     1.350    0.894
    Indonesia         0.930     0.930     0.930      0.930     0.940    1.451
    Iran              3.930     3.950     3.950      3.950     4.000    4.110
    Iraq              1.550     1.700     1.800      1.990     1.890      N/A
    Kuwait            2.540     2.550     2.550      2.550     2.550    2.247
    Libya             1.660     1.660     1.650      1.650     1.650    1.500
    Nigeria           2.420     2.450     2.450      2.450     2.450    2.306
    Qatar             0.800     0.800     0.800      0.790     0.790    0.726
    Saudi Arabia      9.500     9.550     9.500      9.560     9.550    9.099
    UAE               2.500     2.490     2.480      2.480     2.470    2.444
    Venezuela         2.600     2.600     2.600      2.610     2.620    3.223
    Total            29.800    30.050    30.070     30.310    30.260      N/A
    OPEC 10
    (excluding
     Iraq)           28.250    28.350    28.270     28.320    28.370   28.000

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