OPEC: Upward Trend in Iran Crude Output

Iran Heavy, one of the country’s main export grades, settled at $42.17 on average in August.Iran Heavy, one of the country’s main export grades, settled at $42.17 on average in August.

Iran continues its march toward regaining the oil market share it lost under international sanctions as the country added more barrels to its daily production in August compared to the previous month, data published by OPEC showed. Iran, OPEC’s No. 3 producer, pumped 3.653 million barrels of oil per day last month, or 22,000 barrels more than its July production, OPEC cited secondary sources as saying in its monthly report published on Sept. 12.

According to government data, the country raised output by 10,000 barrels to 3.630 million barrels a day in July-Aug, the report said.

Tehran said last month it has boosted crude oil production to slightly above 3.8 million barrels per day, stressing that it will reach its pre-sanctions production level of around 4 million barrels a day by the yearend. The country has ramped up production by nearly 1 million bpd economic sanctions were lifted in January.

Production by Saudi Arabia—world’s top oil exporter and OPEC’s de facto leader—fell to 10.630 million bpd from 10.673 million bpd in July, according to Saudi sources. The group’s second-largest producer Iraq also ramped up production to 4.638 million barrels a day, raising production by 32,000 barrels, according to government data.

Secondary sources said OPEC oil production stood at 33.24 million bpd in August, a decrease of 23,000 bpd over the previous month. Nigeria and Libya showed the largest drop.  Nigeria is grappling with militant attacks on its pipelines that have disrupted oil production in the past few months and Libya’s oil terminals are caught in the crossfire of warring factions in a battle to seize control of the country’s oil exports.

Iran Heavy, one of the country’s main export grades, settled at $42.17 on average in August, trading 1.4% higher than the previous month. Saudi Arabia’s Arab Light and Iraq’s Basrah Light were also priced slightly higher in month-on-month trade, settling at $43.47 and $42.01 per barrel, respectively. OPEC’s basket price for August averaged $43.10, 1% higher than the month before.

Brent, the global crude benchmark, settled up 1.9% at $45.85 in monthly trade and the US West Texas Intermediate traded at $44.75 last month.

According to the report, the OPEC basket price recovered slightly in August, supported by a brief rebound in the oil market, which was triggered by speculation that oil producers might agree to curb output at an upcoming September meeting in Algeria. Speculations on a more balanced market in the second half of the year also buoyed prices.