Crude oil output from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) fell by 390,000 barrels per day (b/d) to 31.15 million b/d in September, with Saudi Arabia and Nigeria accounting for the bulk of the month-on-month drop, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials and analysts showed October 11. This follows August production of 31.54 million b/d and leaves OPEC overproducing its 30 million b/d ceiling by 1.15 million b/d.
Saudi Arabia pumped an average 9.85 million b/d in September, 150,000 b/d lower than August’s 10 million b/d, a level it had maintained since May.
“The continued ability for Saudi Arabia to continue producing 10-million b/d has been called into question by some skeptics; the decline to less than 10 million b/d, small as it is, will be viewed as significant,” said John Kingston , Platts global director of news. “Skeptics will also point to a big drop out of Nigeria . Still, OPEC output is above various estimates of what OPEC needs to maintain to keep inventories balanced.”
Nigerian output was down by 230,000 b/d at 2.05 million b/d in September from 2.28 million b/d in August, the survey estimated.
After a sharp drop in August, Iranian output showed a dip of just 30,000 b/d to 2.72 million b/d in September, the survey showed.
In Angola , maintenance helped push volumes down to 1.7 million b/d from 1.75 million b/d in August. Other smaller decreases came from Algeria , Qatar , and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The only countries to increase output were Iraq , whose exports climbed further in September, and Libya . Iraqi output was estimated at 3.18 million, up 80,000 b/d from August, and Libyan output at 1.48 million b/d, up 30,000 b/d from August.
In recent months rising Iraqi production has set a series of post-1990 records, but the September figure of 3.18 million b/d surpasses even anything seen in 1990 and is the biggest recorded since Platts started thorough monthly surveys of OPEC production in March 1988 .
Ecuador , Kuwait and Venezuela maintained production at August levels.
The OPEC production ceiling, agreed in December 2011 and extended in June 2012 , does not include individual country quotas.
Ministers are next scheduled to meet on December 12 in Vienna .
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