Iraq Export Boost Takes OPEC Above 30 Million Barrels Per Day in April



Higher volumes from Iraq and Nigeria pushed total OPEC crude production in April back above 30 million barrels per day (b/d) for the first time since November, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials showed May 9.

The survey showed total OPEC output climbing from 29.76 million b/d in March to 30.01 million b/d in April, an increase of 250,000 b/d. Excluding Iraq, which does not participate in OPEC output agreements, the ten members with quotas boosted their average output by 60,000 b/d, from 27.94 million b/d in March to 28 million b/d -- their official ceiling level -- in April.

The biggest single increase came from Iraq, which saw volumes rise from 1.82 million b/d in March to 2.01 million b/d in April, thanks to a big boost in exports from the south, which had been constrained by a combination of weather problems, power outages and sabotage. Exports from the north, via Turkish Mediterranean port Ceyhan, remain on hold.

"That OPEC production is back above 30 million b/d is due entirely to Iraq, whose production and exports are inconsistent. The rise in OPEC-10 output is just 60,000 b/d -- not a significant volume in view of the fact that global spare oil production capacity remains worryingly tight in the face of growing demand for oil," John Kingston, global director of oil at Platts, said.

The survey showed Nigerian production rising to 2.2 million b/d from 2.15 million b/d in March as new production from ExxonMobil's offshore Erha field helped to offset production lost as a result of militant attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta.

Other smaller increases of 10,000 b/d each came from Indonesia and the UAE, while Iranian production rose by 20,000 b/d, from 3.86 million b/d in March to 3.88 million b/d in April.

Saudi production slipped 20,000 b/d to average 9.48 million b/d. Venezuelan production edged down further to 2.58 million b/d from 2.59 million b/d in March.

    Details of monthly output by country, in million b/d:

    Country         Apr      Mar      Feb      Jan      Dec      Quota
    Algeria         1.370    1.370    1.370    1.370    1.370    0.894
    Indonesia       0.930    0.920    0.920    0.920    0.930    1.451
    Iran            3.880    3.860    3.860    3.900    3.930    4.110
    Iraq            2.010    1.820    1.790    1.530    1.550      N/A
    Kuwait          2.540    2.540    2.540    2.540    2.540    2.247
    Libya           1.670    1.670    1.670    1.660    1.660    1.500
    Nigeria         2.200    2.150    2.370    2.400    2.420    2.306
    Qatar           0.810    0.810    0.800    0.800    0.800    0.726
    Saudi Arabia    9.480    9.500    9.500    9.480    9.500    9.099
    UAE             2.540    2.530    2.500    2.480    2.500    2.444
    Venezuela       2.580    2.590    2.600    2.600    2.600    3.223
    Total          30.010   29.760   29.920   29.680   29.800   28.000
    OPEC 10        28.000   27.940   28.130   28.150   28.250   28.000
    (excluding Iraq)

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