OPEC-10 Output Up 880,000 Barrels Per Day in June

OPEC's overall crude production soared towards 29 million barrels per day (mil b/d) in June as the oil exporters' cartel opened the taps to make good on a pledge to cool down overheated oil prices, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials showed July 13.

Including Iraq, output from the group's eleven members climbed by 680,000 b/d to 28.94-mil b/d in June from 28.26-mil b/d in May. Excluding Iraq, the ten members bound by quotas pumped 27.24-mil b/d in June, up 880,000 b/d from May's 26.36-mil b/d and more than 3.7-mil b/d in excess of their nominal 23.5- mil b/d ceiling which expired at the end of June.

"All signs point to OPEC retaining its current levels at the Vienna meeting that begins next week," said John Kingston, director of oil at Platts. "There has been no backtracking of the group's commitment to put more oil on to the market. The weakest link remains Iraq sabotage, which if it becomes chronic could eliminate from the market that little bit of breathing space that has been provided in the last several weeks by OPEC's additional production."

The June figure for the OPEC-10 was also well above the new 25.5-mil b/d ceiling agreed at a June 3 meeting in Beirut and which came into effect at the beginning of July. A further 500,000 b/d increment, also agreed in Beirut and scheduled for implementation at the beginning of August will take OPEC's official ceiling to 26-mil b/d next month but the OPEC-10 already exceeded this volume by 1.24-mil b/d in June.

OPEC's Vienna secretariat said in a report last month it expected OPEC-10 output to approach 27-mil b/d in June and total OPEC output, including that of Iraq, to be around 29.4-mil b/d.

Sabotage attacks on southern pipelines sent Iraqi volumes falling to 1.7- mil b/d from 1.9-mil b/d in May and 2.38-mil b/d in April.

Apart from Indonesia and Venezuela, which maintained output at May levels, all other members boosted output in June. The biggest single increase -- 500,000 b/d -- came from Saudi Arabia, whose oil minister Ali Naimi served notice in May that the kingdom would produce an average 9.1-mil b/d in June.

UAE production rose to 2.38-mil b/d from 2.26-mil b/d in May, an increase of 120,000 b/d. Survey participants noted increased volumes from Libya, whose output rose to 1.54-mil b/d in June from 1.47-mil b/d in May. Kuwaiti output rose to 2.35-mil b/d from 2.3-mil b/d in May. Survey participants noted that the emirate had restarted ahead of schedule a key crude gathering center which had been closed for maintenance. Other increases came from Algeria, Iran, Nigeria and Qatar.

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

Country   June 04   May 04   Apr 04   Mar 04   Quota-A   Quota-J   Quota-A
                                                    pr 1      ul 1      ug 1
    Algeria     1.200    1.170    1.150    1.150    0.750     0.814     0.830
    Indonesia   0.970    0.970    0.980    0.980    1.218     1.322     1.347
    Iran        3.960    3.920    3.880    3.900    3.450     3.744     3.817
    Iraq        1.700    1.900    2.380    2.340      N/A       N/A       N/A
    Kuwait      2.350    2.300    2.210    2.220    1.886     2.046     2.087
    Libya       1.540    1.470    1.460    1.460    1.258     1.365     1.392
    Nigeria     2.400    2.350    2.350    2.400    1.936     2.101     2.142
    Qatar       0.780    0.760    0.740    0.750    0.609     0.661     0.674
     Arabia     9.100    8.600    8.300    8.420    7.638     8.288     8.450
    UAE         2.380    2.260    2.100    2.240    2.051     2.225     2.269
    Venezuela   2.560    2.560    2.520    2.540    2.704     2.934     2.992
    Total      28.940   28.260   28.070   28.400      N/A       N/A       N/A
    OPEC 10
     Iraq)     27.240   26.360   25.690   26.060   23.500    25.500    26.000