OPEC's Oil Output on the Rise - Platts Survey

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' crude oil production rose to 29.31 million barrels per day (b/d) in February, an increase of 60,000 (b/d) from an estimated January level of 29.25 million b/d, according to a just-released Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials and analysts.

Excluding Iraq, which does not participate in the oil producing group's production agreements, output from the 11 members bound by quotas (OPEC-11) -- under a 24.845 million b/d collective target -- dipped by 10,000 b/d to 26.75 million b/d in February.

Increases totaling 170,000 b/d from Angola, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Venezuela were partly offset by decreases totaling 110,000 b/d from Libya and Nigeria, the latter's production dropping by 100,000 b/d to 1.98 million b/d in February.

"With the price of oil at what many view to be a sweet spot now in the upper $70 to $80 per barrel range, OPEC has little appetite or need to make any changes at its upcoming March 17 meeting," said John Kingston, Platts director of news. "The one number that jumps out from the Platts survey is the drop of 100,000 b/d in output from Nigeria, where a fragile peace pact in the Niger Delta appears to be unraveling. After several months of both rising production and rising optimism that the worst was behind the country, the output drop in February looks like a discouraging setback."