OPEC Output Up 80,000 Barrels Per Day in November, According to Platts

OPEC's ten members with quotas produced a combined 28.35 million barrels per day (mil b/d) of crude in November, up 80,000 b/d from October's 28.27-mil b/d, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials showed December 8.

But total production from the cartel fell by 20,000 b/d from the previous month to 30.05-mil b/d as Iraqi production plunged to 1.7-mil b/d in November from 1.8-mil b/d in October.

Iraqi production and exports continue to suffer from inadequate oil field and infrastructure maintenance, as well as from the ongoing security problems. Weather has also played a part in November's dip.

"So far, the 30 million barrels per day level seems to be giving the market adequate balance to meet current demand," said John Kingston, global director of oil at Platts. "But the drop in Iraqi output is always troubling; given the precarious state of the industry there, the question to be asked is whether a relatively small 100,000 barrel per day decline is the start of something bigger, or just a temporary fluctuation. Iraqi officials have told us that 20-million barrels of Iraqi December exports are expected to be deferred until January. That works out on a strict average to more than 600,000 b/d. And while you can't assume Iraqi production is going to drop by precisely that amount in December, it's obviously yet one more source of worry to the market."

Four countries increased production. Algerian, Libyan and UAE output each rose by 10,000 b/d to 1.37-mil b/d, 1.66-mil b/d, and 2.49-mil b/d respectively, while Saudi Arabian output rose by 50,000 b/d to 9.55-mil b/d.

Nigerian production was stable at 2.45-mil b/d, but analysts and oil industry officials expect to see that number start to move up early in 2006 as exports from the new deepwater Bonga field get underway and as production builds up.

Shell-operated Bonga came on stream in late November-at a rate of around 50,000 b/d, according to oil minister Edmund Daukoru-and the first cargo will be lifted in early January. The field, which lies in more than 1,000 meters of water some 120 km offshore, had originally been due to come on stream in 2003 but was delayed several times and has also seen its project costs rise.

OPEC is not expected to change its official 28-mil b/d ceiling at its Dec 12 meeting in Kuwait next week, its Kuwaiti president Sheikh Ahmed Fahed al- Sabah said earlier Thursday. He said the cartel would be able to take action before its next scheduled meeting in March if it became necessary to prevent any steep fall in oil prices.

There was also a 50% chance OPEC would renew its offer, made in September and set to expire at the end of the year, to produce its combined 2-mil b/d of spare capacity should customers ask for additional oil, Sheikh Ahmed said.

    Country-by-country breakdown of production with figures in millions of

    Country           Nov 05    Oct 05  Sept 05   Aug 05   July 05   Quota
    Algeria            1.370     1.360    1.350    1.350     1.340   0.894
    Indonesia          0.930     0.930    0.930    0.940     0.940   1.451
    Iran               3.950     3.950    3.950    4.000     4.000   4.110
    Iraq               1.700     1.800    1.990    1.890     1.960     N/A
    Kuwait             2.550     2.550    2.550    2.550     2.550   2.247
    Libya              1.660     1.650    1.650    1.650     1.650   1.500
    Nigeria            2.450     2.450    2.450    2.450     2.450   2.306
    Qatar              0.800     0.800    0.790    0.790     0.780   0.726
    Saudi Arabia       9.550     9.500    9.560    9.550     9.500   9.099
    UAE                2.490     2.480    2.480    2.470     2.450   2.444
    Venezuela          2.600     2.600    2.610    2.620     2.630   3.223
    Total             30.050    30.070   30.310   30.260    30.250     N/A
    OPEC 10
    (excluding Iraq)  28.350    28.270   28.320   28.370    28.290  28.000