OPEC Sees Increase in January Output

Crude oil output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) rose to 30.87 million barrels per day (bpd) in January from 30.83 million bpd in December. This leaves the organization overproducing its brand new production ceiling by 870,000 bpd, according to a just-released Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials and analysts.

A 200,000-bpd increase in Libyan production to 1 million bpd – just 600,000 bpd short of pre-uprising output early last year – more than offset combined reductions totalling 170,000 bpd from Angola, Iran, Nigeria and Venezuela. United Arab Emirates production also saw a small increase of 10,000 bpd to 2.56 million bpd.

"Libyan production is clearly recovering steadily, and it will be interesting to see how the group accommodates these rising volumes, especially when OPEC is already substantially overproducing its 30-million-bpd ceiling and with the Vienna secretariat forecasting that demand for OPEC crude in the first quarter will be well below current production," said John Kingston, Platts global director of news.

The survey estimated output from OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia at 9.8 million bpd, unchanged from December.

Earlier February 9, OPEC trimmed its forecast of demand for crude from its 12 members for 2012 as a whole to 30.04 million bpd from the 30.15 million projected a month ago.

But for the first three months of this year, OPEC slashed its previous forecast by 290,000 bpd, to 29.55 million bpd from 29.84 million bpd a month ago. This suggests that OPEC may need to rein in production over the next two months.

OPEC ministers in December agreed to set crude output for all 12 members, including Iraq and Libya, at 30 million bpd. But they did not set individual quotas.


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