OPEC Pumped 30.9 mbpd of Oil in April

OPEC Pumped 30.9 mbpd of Oil in AprilOPEC Pumped 30.9 mbpd of Oil in April

Oil production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) totaled 30.93 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, up 210,000 bpd from March, as several member countries boosted production, according to the latest Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials and analysts.

“OPEC production has climbed within a whisker of 31 million bpd, well above the group’s current ceiling,” said Margaret McQuaile, senior correspondent for Platts. “However, given the emphasis on preserving market share and barring some kind of pact with key non-OPEC producers, it seems unlikely that we will see any output policy change at the June 5 meeting.”  

The April total, which is the highest since November 2012, leaves the group’s output nearly 1 million-bpd above the 30 million bpd ceiling that has been in place since the beginning of 2012 and which Saudi Arabia successfully argued in November should be maintained, despite plunging oil prices and misgivings among several member countries.

The biggest single increase came from OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia, which increased output by 100,000 bpd to 10.1 million bpd in April. Smaller increases came from Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya and Nigeria.

Angolan output dropped by 70,000 bpd month on month to 1.68 million bpd, largely due to problems at BP’s Plutonio field. Supply of another Angolan grade, Saturno, has also been affected by power outages in recent months.

Libyan production in April rose to 520,000 bpd from 480,000 bpd the previous month. Output climbed as high as 600,000 bpd early in the month as production ramped up from eastern fields, but technical problems at fields operated by the state-owned Sirte Oil Company and the closure of the Elephant (El Feel) field in southwestern Libya saw production slide back below 500,000 bpd.

In late April, crude supplies to the eastern Libyan port of Zueitina were suspended after protesters forced the closure of the pipeline feeding the terminal. Iraqi production was estimated at 3.6 million bpd, up 70,000 bpd from March, increased exports from Ceyhan in Turkey compensating for a drop in those from the south. OPEC ministers will review the current ceiling at talks in Vienna on June 5, but there are no indications that the organization is planning any adjustments to current output policy.

In mid-April, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said OPEC should cut 5 percent of its current output to balance world oil markets and prepare for increased flows of Iranian oil if ongoing talks between Tehran and six world powers result in a nuclear deal by a June 30deadline and sanctions being lifted.

“With the potential for additional barrels from Iran in the event of sanctions being lifted, the second half of the year could be a lot more eventful,” McQuaile added.