Platts – Oil production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) climbed for the third consecutive month in May to total 29.97 million barrels per day (b/d), according to the latest Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials and analysts. That is up 250,000 b/d from the April level of 29.72 million b/d.
“The call on OPEC crude, according to the International Energy Agency, is 30.7 million b/d for the third and fourth quarters of 2014,” said John Kingston, Platts global director of news. “That means OPEC needs to add about 1 million b/d of output from what we estimate the group produced in May. This is a tall task, given how many countries in OPEC are under all sorts of politically-linked limitations on increasing output. The Saudis may be called upon to open their taps wider than they normally prefer.”
OPEC’s top producer, Saudi Arabia, boosted output last month by 100,000 b/d to 9.75 million b/d, the kingdom’s highest volume since January’s estimated 9.76 million b/d, the survey showed. Saudi production tends to rise in the summer months when the volume of crude burned directly in power plants increases. Production in 2013 averaged 10 million b/d in August and September.
Other smaller output increases in May came from Angola, Ecuador, Iraq, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.
The only production decrease in May came from Libya, where the ongoing political chaos and civil strife is keeping crude production at a fraction of pre-2011 uprising levels of close to 1.6 million b/d.
According to survey respondents, Libyan production in May dipped 10,000 b/d from April to 200,000 b/d. This was the lowest monthly average since protesters began disrupting key oil infrastructure, shutting in fields and blockading export terminals in a bid to win improved rights and greater political influence in post-Qadhafi Libya. In May 2013, Libya was pumping 1.4 million b/d.
The May production totals put OPEC output within a few barrels of the group’s 30 million b/d crude production target that has been in force since January 2012. Ministers, including Ali Naimi of Saudi Arabia and Bijan Zanganeh of Iran, have said they see no need for OPEC to change current output policy at the upcoming meeting on Wednesday.
The group’s economic experts expect demand for OPEC crude to average more than 30 million b/d during the second half of this year.
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