OPEC-10 March Oil Output 26.575M B/D, Up 90,000 B/D Vs Feb

New York Apr 10, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries raised its crude-oil output in March following two months of cuts, the U.S. Department of Energy said.

The 10 OPEC members subject to production quotas, not including Iraq and recent member Angola, produced 26.575 million barrels a day, up 90,000 barrels a day from February levels, according to a report by the Energy Information Administration. The EIA is the statistics arm of the Energy Department.

In addition, the EIA revised upward its estimate of OPEC-10 February output. According to the new estimate, oil production fell 175,000 barrels a day between January and February to 26.485 million barrels a day.

March's output was 695,000 barrels a day above the 10 members' combined production target of 25.88 million. In a bid to stave off a further slide in oil prices, OPEC has agreed to cut output from these ten members by 1.7 million barrels a day in two tranches starting Nov. 1. The second phase took effect Feb. 1.

"Although OPEC members made only about half of their targeted production cuts in November and February, global oil markets have tightened," the EIA said in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook. "In the coming months OPEC members will need to consider accommodating the demand for seasonal stock building in order to keep inventories in the middle of the five-year range."

According to a Dow Jones Newswires survey, the 10 OPEC members subject to output quotas raised production in March by 35,000 barrels to 26.6 million barrels a day. This is in line with the EIA's estimate.

At a March 15 meeting in Vienna, OPEC agreed to hold its crude oil production target unchanged but stressed its desire for greater adherence to the previous cuts.

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