OPEC's Oil Output Dives by 930,000 B/D from December

The 12 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pumped an average 28.97 million barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil in January, according to a Platts survey of OPEC, oil industry officials and analysts just released. This is a decline of 930,000 b/d from the December level of 29.9 million b/d.

Excluding Iraq, production from the 11 members bound by output agreements fell by 970,000 b/d to 26.54 million b/d from the December estimate of 27.51 million b/d, the survey showed.

This leaves the OPEC-11 some 1.695 million b/d above its 24.845 million b/d target, agreed to at OPEC's December 17 meeting in Oran, Algeria, and which came into effect at the beginning of January.

"OPEC has managed to slash nearly a million barrels a day of production over the past month," said Platts Global Director of Oil John Kingston. "It still needs to cut a further 1.7 million barrels per day to reach its target. The question now is whether ministers meeting in Vienna in just a month's time will be willing to give the current agreement time to work or whether there will be calls for new cuts."

OPEC's biggest producer, Saudi Arabia, accounted for the biggest single cut, reducing its production by 340,000 b/d to 8.03 million b/d in January from 8.37 million b/d in December.

Iran cut output by 140,000 b/d to average 3.7 million b/d, while Kuwaiti output fell by 130,000 b/d to 2.33 million b/d.

Other countries cut by smaller volumes ranging from 10,000 b/d in the case of Ecuador to 80,000 b/d in the case of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Iraqi supply rose by 40,000 b/d to average 2.43 million b/d, driven by higher exports.

OPEC is next scheduled to meet on March 15 in Vienna.