OPEC Output Up 110,000 Barrels Per Day in October

OPEC crude production rose 110,000 barrels per day to 30.3 million barrels per day (mil b/d) in October from 30.19-mil b/d in September, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials showed November 9. Iraq, whose output rose to 2.2-mil b/d in October from 2.1-mil b/d in September, accounted for almost all of the increase. Excluding Iraq, the ten members nominally bound by quotas pumped an average 28.1-mil b/d in October, just 10,000 b/d higher than September's 28.09-mil b/d, the survey showed.

"If Iraq is taken out of the equation, the supply volumes for the rest of OPEC have barely changed over the course of the last month," said John Kingston, global director if oil for Platts. "This may well suggest that OPEC doesn't have much left to pump in the short term. However, the buildup of supplies in the market, which is obvious to anyone in the industry, may give consumers some breathing room, and more supplies from OPEC might not be desperately needed, as they seemed to be just a few months ago."

"The big question continues to surround not crude, but heating oil, and whether supplies are adequate should we have a cold winter," Kingston said. "Continued tightness in heating oil inventories remains a concern."

Algeria, Kuwait and Nigeria boosted output by 10,000 b/d, 40,000 b/d and 20,000 b/d respectively, while Iranian and Saudi production fell by 30,000 b/d each.

Kuwaiti oil minister Sheikh Ahmad Fahed al-Sabah in early October offered oil markets an extra 200,000 b/d of crude with the imminent re-commissioning of a crude gathering center. But GC-15, destroyed in a 2001 explosion and whose new design capacity is 300,000 b/d, has yet to come on stream, and Kuwaiti sources have said the reopening could be delayed to the end of the year.

Indonesia, Libya, Qatar, the UAE and Venezuela maintained output at September levels.

OPEC has encouraged its members to increase production well beyond official quotas alongside this year's skyrocketing price levels. At the same time, it has taken steps to increase quotas towards-but not all the way to- actual output levels.

The latest survey leaves the OPEC-10 pumping 2.1-mil b/d in excess of their current 26-mil b/d ceiling. It also leaves them already pumping more than a million b/d above their new 27-mil b/d ceiling which came into effect at the beginning of November.

Many OPEC members are producing close to their maximum capacity limits, which are mostly considerably higher than their official quotas. Indonesia and Venezuela were the only members to produce within their official quotas in October. Indonesia's output has been declining but the country hopes to boost it next year with the commissioning of new production. Venezuela's output has not fully recovered from the impact of a two-month strike nearly two years ago.

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

    Country        Oct 04   Sept 04   Aug 04  July 04  Quota Aug 1 Quota Nov 1

    Algeria         1.270     1.260   1.260    1.250     0.830        0.862
    Indonesia       0.950     0.950   0.950    0.960     1.347        1.399
    Iran            3.950     3.980   3.980    3.980     3.817        3.964
    Iraq            2.200     2.100   1.780    1.950       N/A          N/A
    Kuwait          2.420     2.380   2.380    2.350     2.087        2.167
    Libya           1.610     1.610   1.610    1.590     1.392        1.446
    Nigeria         2.400     2.380   2.400    2.400     2.142        2.224
    Qatar           0.800     0.800   0.790    0.780     0.674        0.700
    Saudi Arabia    9.550     9.580   9.500    9.400     8.450        8.775
    UAE             2.500     2.500   2.450    2.390     2.269        2.356
    Venezuela       2.650     2.650   2.650    2.620     2.992        3.107
    Total          30.300    30.190  29.750   29.670       N/A          N/A
    OPEC 10
      Iraq)        28.100    28.090  27.970   27.720    26.000       27.000