OPEC Crude Output Rises 220,000 b/d in August to 29.91 Million b/d

OPEC crude production climbed by 220,000 barrels per day (b/d) in August to average 29.91 million b/d in the month, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials showed September 7.

Excluding Iraqi volumes, production from the 10 members with quotas averaged 27.91 million b/d, up 280,000 b/d from July's 27.63 million b/d but still below the 28 million b/d ceiling, the survey showed.

Six countries boosted output, including Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela and Iran. Saudi Arabia reined in its production, which had held around 9.5 million b/d for some time, in the spring, saying there was little demand for its heavier crude grades. In August, the survey showed output rising to 9.28 million b/d from 9.25 million b/d in July.

In Nigeria, rising deepwater offshore production has helped offset production lost through attacks by Niger Delta militants on oil facilities. Venezuela, whose Ameriven heavy crude upgrader was brought back on line in mid-August after a lengthy maintenance shutdown, saw output increase to 2.49 million b/d from 2.4 million in July, but remains well below its 3.223 million b/d notional quota.

Iranian production rose to 3.95 million b/d in August from 3.87 million b/d in July, but was 160,000 b/d below the country's 4.11 million b/d quota. Another country that is producing well below its quota is Indonesia, whose production has fallen to just 860,000 b/d. Together Iran, Venezuela, and Indonesia are producing close to 1.5 million b/d below their combined quotas. Iraq, which exported no crude from the Turkish Mediterranean port Ceyhan in August, saw volumes dip to 2 million b/d from 2.06 million b/d. Flows of Iraqi Kirkuk crude to Ceyhan have been stopped since early July, when insurgents attacked the 900km (600 mile) crude pipeline between Kirkuk and the 330,000 b/d Baiji refinery. The northern pipeline network is frequently attacked by insurgents, making regular sales of Kirkuk from Ceyhan difficult. Crude flows to Ceyhan resumed in late August, and state oil marketer SOMO in early September issued a tender for six million barrels of crude for lifting from Ceyhan in September.

OPEC ministers meet in Vienna Monday to review output policy ahead of the winter. They are not expected to make any adjustments to the current 28 million b/d ceiling.

John Kingston, Global Director of Oil at Platts, said, "Most of the Platts findings this month are positive for consumers. It's particularly noteworthy to see higher output in Nigeria, despite all its problems, and Venezuela as well. Additionally, Saudi Arabia could easily bring on a few hundred thousand barrels a day more in output as we head into the fourth quarter, the traditionally heaviest demand period."

    Country       August     July     June      May      Apr    Quota
    Algeria        1.350    1.350    1.350    1.370    1.370    0.894
    Indonesia      0.860    0.900    0.920    0.930    0.930    1.451
    Iran           3.950    3.870    3.790    3.850    3.880    4.110
    Iraq           2.000    2.060    2.120    1.960    2.010      N/A
    Kuwait         2.540    2.540    2.540    2.540    2.540    2.247
    Libya          1.710    1.700    1.690    1.670    1.670    1.500
    Nigeria        2.300    2.200    2.350    2.300    2.200    2.306
    Qatar          0.830    0.820    0.820    0.810    0.810    0.726
    Saudi Arabia   9.280    9.250    9.250    9.200    9.100    9.099
    UAE            2.600    2.600    2.570    2.540    2.530    2.444
    Venezuela      2.490    2.400    2.550    2.580    2.590    3.223
    Total         29.910   29.690   29.950   29.750   29.630
    OPEC-10       27.910   27.630   27.830   27.790   27.620   28.000