OPEC Crude Output Falls 260,000 b/d in July

OPEC crude production fell by 260,000 barrels per day (b/d) to 29.69 million b/d in July from 29.95 million b/d in June, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials showed August 11. New closures in the troubled Niger Delta cut Nigerian output, while Iraq was forced to stop exporting crude from Turkey after a brief resumption the previous month. Venezuelan production was also down sharply after one of the country's heavy crude upgraders was shut down for maintenance in early July.

Excluding Iraq, the ten members with quotas pumped an average 27.62 million b/d in July, down 210,000 b/d from June's 27.83 million b/d, and under-producing their notional 28 million b/d output ceiling by 38,000 b/d, the survey showed.

Output decreases totaling 380,000 b/d from Indonesia, Iraq, Nigeria and Venezuela were partly offset by 120,000 b/d of increased production from Iran, Libya and the UAE. The losses from Nigeria and Venezuela alone amounted to 300,000 b/d.

Venezuela shut down its Ameriven upgrader, which turns 190,000 b/d of extra heavy 8.5 deg API Hamaca feedstock into 180,000 b/d of 26 deg API synthetic crude, for maintenance in early July. A spokesman said late last month that the maintenance should be completed by August 20. Ameriven is a joint venture between Petroleos de Venezuela, ConocoPhillips and Chevron.

Iranian production recovered from 3.79 million b/d in June to 3.86 million b/d in July, the survey estimated. Smaller increases of 30,000 b/d and 10,000 b/d came from the UAE and Libya.

John Kingston, Global Director of Oil at Platts, said, "It seems that every surge in analysis about the market being oversupplied with crude is then greeted with a series of incidents that shows how tenuous that supply can be. Certainly, the events of the past month that created the decline in production are a prime example of that, topped off by the cessation of some production in Prudhoe Bay. This is all happening as the fourth quarter -- the traditional time for strongest demand -- looms over the horizon."

    Country      July     June      May      Apr      Mar      Feb    Quota

    Algeria     1.350    1.350    1.370    1.370    1.370    1.370    0.894
    Indonesia   0.900    0.920    0.930    0.930    0.920    0.920    1.451
    Iran        3.870    3.790    3.850    3.880    3.860    3.860    4.110
    Iraq        2.060    2.120    1.960    2.010    1.820    1.790      N/A
    Kuwait      2.540    2.540    2.540    2.540    2.540    2.540    2.247
    Libya       1.700    1.690    1.670    1.670    1.670    1.670    1.500
    Nigeria     2.200    2.350    2.300    2.200    2.150    2.370    2.306
    Qatar       0.820    0.820    0.810    0.810    0.810    0.800    0.726
    Saudi
     Arabia     9.250    9.250    9.200    9.100    9.500    9.500    9.099
    UAE         2.600    2.570    2.540    2.530    2.500    2.480    2.444
    Venezuela   2.400    2.550    2.580    2.590    2.600    2.600    3.223
    Total      29.690   29.950   29.750   29.630   29.760   29.920   28.000
    OPEC 10    27.630   27.830   27.790   27.620   27.940   28.130   28.000
    (excluding Iraq)
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