Platts Says April OPEC Output Down 1.42 Mil BPD

OPEC's eleven members pumped an overall 26.36-million barrels per day in April, down 1.42-million barrels per day, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials showed Friday.

Platts is the energy information business of The McGraw-Hill Companies

he output drop was due mainly to Iraqi production being halted by war for most of the month. The survey estimated Iraqi production, which resumed towards the end of May, at an average 50,000 barrels per day. Excluding Iraq, output from the ten members with quotas fell to 26.31-million barrels per day in April from 26.34-million barrels per day in March.

Among the OPEC ten, output cutbacks totaling 440,000 barrels per day were almost completely offset by 410,000 b/d in increases.

Saudi Arabia accounted for the biggest single cut -- 260,000 barrels per day, reining in production from 9.46-million barrels per day in March to 9.2-million barrels per day in April. Other smaller cuts came from Indonesia (10,000 barrels per day), Iran (80,000 barrels per day), Nigeria (80,000 barrels per day) and the UAE (80,000 barrels per day). Venezuela accounted for the biggest single increase -- 390,000 barrels per day, with smaller increases from Algeria and Libya (10,000 barrels per day each).

The survey showed that the OPEC ten exceeded their current 24.5-million barrels per day production ceiling by 1.81-million barrels per day. "For all intents and purposes the current ceiling became redundant when OPEC announced at its April 24 meeting its new higher ceiling of 25.4-million barrels per day," said John Kingston, global director of oil at Platts. "The new ceiling, even though it doesn't come into effect until June, has become the new target for OPEC."

To meet the new ceiling, the OPEC ten will have to shave output by 910,000 barrels per day. Saudi Arabia alone will have to slash its production by nearly 1-million barrels per day to meet its June 1 quota of 8.256-million barrels per day.

But not all countries are capable of meeting their new June quotas. Indonesia, whose output is declining, will not be able to pump anywhere near the new 1.317-million barrel per day quota it has been allocated under a pro rata distribution. It pumped just over 1-million barrels per day in April.

Venezuelan production has recovered strongly after a crippling oil strike, but the 2.67-million barrels per day it is estimated to have produced in April falls well short of state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela's claims that output has risen beyond 3-million barrels per day. Its quota rises from 2.819-million barrels per day currently to 2.923-million barrels per day in June.

Country-by-country breakdown of production with figures in millions of barrels per day:

Country Apr 03 Mar 03 Feb 03 Jan 03 Feb 03
June 03
Algeria 1.120 1.110 1.050 1.020 0.782 0.811
Indonesia 1.030 1.040 1.080 1.080 1.270 1.317
Iran 3.680 3.760 3.690 3.620 3.597 3.729
Iraq 0.050 1.440 2.510 2.500 N/A N/A
Kuwait 2.300 2.300 2.000 2.000 1.966 2.038
Libya 1.420 1.410 1.400 1.390 1.312 1.360
Nigeria 1.850 1.930 2.180 2.150 2.018 2.092
Qatar 0.760 0.760 0.750 0.730 0.635 0.658
Saudi Arabia 9.200 9.460 8.740 8.470 7.963 8.256
UAE 2.280 2.290 2.140 2.100 2.138 2.217
Venezuela 2.670 2.280 1.490 0.650 2.819 2.923
Total 26.360 27.780 27.030 25.710 N/A N/A
Excluding Iraq
26.310 26.340 24.520 23.210 24.500 25.400