Crude oil production from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) fell to 30.45 million barrels per day (b/d) last month.
It dropped from 30.57 million b/d in the month of May as lower volumes from Libya and Iraq more than offset an increase from top producer Saudi Arabia, according to a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials and analysts. It is, however, overproducing its official 30 million b/d mark, which has been in place since January last year, by 450,000 b/d.
The survey suggests production in Libya fell by 200,000 b/d last month due to continuing political unrest, which included protests at key oil field across the country. Iraq also saw its output drop by around 100,000 b/d to three million b/d following the northern pipeline system, which carries crude oil to Ceyhan on the Turkish Mediterranean, being repeatedly attacked by insurgents. Exports from Ceyhan, which has been suspended since mid-June, is believed to have remained halted yesterday despite earlier reports it would resume on July 4.
Saudi Arabia, however, boosted output by 250,000 b/d to 9.65 million b/d – the highest volume since November last year. Platts suggests Saudi output typically rises during the summer to meet increased demand from domestic power stations. There were also smaller increases of 10,000 b/d each from Kuwait and the UAE.
John Kingston, Platts Global Director of news said: “What’s notable about this month’s figures is not the Libyan decline – because that was known since the start of June – but the way the Saudis stepped right in to fill that gap. The Saudi role as swing producer becomes more significant every month as the kingdom puts oil into the market when it’s needed and takes it out when it’s not. It has been particularly aggressive in this role in recent months.”