OPEC Output Down 240,000 Barrels Per Day in October, According to Platts

Crude production from OPEC's 11 members fell 240,000 barrels per day to 30.07-million barrels per day (mil b/d) in October from 30.31-mil b/d in September, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials showed November 9.

The drop largely reflected a plunge in output from Iraq, whose production and exports have fluctuated widely since the March 2003 US-led invasion as the country has struggled to rebuild its beleaguered oil sector.

"Even with a reduction in OPEC output last month, albeit mostly from Iraq, the organization actually faces an issue of cutting production when it meets next month," said John Kingston, Platts' global director of oil. "This is close to unbelievable, given the loss in output from the Gulf of Mexico after Katrina and Rita. Yet despite that, inventories are building, we're coming out of the 4th quarter-which is the heaviest demand quarter-and it's not unreasonable for the OPEC countries to see the market as heavily oversupplied. The reversal is astounding."

Excluding Iraq, production from the ten members with notional quotas under a 28-mil b/d ceiling dipped 50,000 b/d to 28.27-mil b/d in October from 28.32-mil b/d the previous month.

Poor weather conditions in the Persian Gulf dealt a blow to Iraqi crude exports and production last month. But weather was not the only factor in lower Iraqi volumes, which have been hit by power outages, limited well maintenance, higher water levels in oil wells, and pipeline problems. Iraqi production fell to 1.8-mil b/d in October from 1.99-mil b/d in September.

Saudi Arabian production edged down 60,000 b/d to 9.5-mil b/d from 9.56- mil b/d in September. Venezuelan output, which has not recovered from a crippling oil workers' strike in the winter of 2002-2003, also eased back, by 10,000 b/d, to 2.6-mil b/d.

Small increases of 10,000 b/d came from Algeria, where foreign companies have helped boost output steadily in recent years, and Qatar.

Prices have fallen by more than ten dollars since late August when US light crude hit an all-time high of $70.85/bbl.

   Country-by-country breakdown of production with figures in millions of b/d:
    Country          Oct 05    Sept 05   Aug 05   July 05    June 05   Quota
    Algeria           1.360     1.350     1.350    1.340     1.330     0.894
    Indonesia         0.930     0.930     0.940    0.940     0.950     1.451
    Iran              3.950     3.950     4.000    4.000     3.990     4.110
    Iraq              1.800     1.990     1.890    1.960     1.850       N/A
    Kuwait            2.550     2.550     2.550    2.550     2.550     2.247
    Libya             1.650     1.650     1.650    1.650     1.630     1.500
    Nigeria           2.450     2.450     2.450    2.450     2.450     2.306
    Qatar             0.800     0.790     0.790    0.780     0.780     0.726
    Saudi Arabia      9.500     9.560     9.550    9.500     9.500     9.099
    UAE               2.480     2.480     2.470    2.450     2.430     2.444
    Venezuela         2.600     2.610     2.620    2.630     2.640     3.223
    Total            30.070    30.310    30.260   30.250    30.100       N/A
    OPEC 10
    (excluding Iraq) 28.270    28.320    28.370   28.290    28.250    28.000