OPEC boosted crude production for a seventh month in April as Iraq, Nigeria and Libya raised output, according to the International Energy Agency.
The 12 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 31.85 million barrels a day of crude last month, up from 31.44 million in March, the Paris-based IEA said in its monthly Oil Market Report. That exceeds the group’s 30 million output ceiling set in December, including Iraq, and is almost 3 million barrels a day more than April 2011 levels, the agency said. OPEC’s own estimate of its production last month was at 31.62 million, based on secondary sources, according to a monthly report yesterday.
“Higher OPEC production has, in part, offset constrained non-OPEC supplies stemming largely from unplanned outages,” the IEA said. “OPEC’s Gulf producers also appear to have ramped up output to meet increased customer demand in response to the potential disruption in Iranian crude flows in coming months as the European Union’s July 1 oil embargo nears.”
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, maintained production near a three-decade peak at 10 million barrels a day last month, unchanged since February. The kingdom’s crude supplies are “on track” to rise to more than 10.1 million barrels a day this month, the IEA said, citing tanker loading data.
“Volumes may rise further in June given the steep price discounts announced for mainstream Arab Light crude sold into Asia,” the agency said. “Some of these liftings may be from storage.”
Iraq, Nigeria Increase
Iraqi production climbed by 195,000 barrels a day to 3.03 million barrels in April, the most in decades, the IEA said. Exports were boosted by a new single point mooring facility.
Oil output from Nigeria rose to 2.15 million barrels a day, up 100,000 barrels a day, because of rising production from the offshore Usan field, the agency said. Libyan supply increased to 1.4 million barrels a day, near its 1.6 million average in 2010, before the nation’s armed uprising.
Iran pumped 3.3 million barrels a day in April, unchanged from the previous month.
OPEC’s “effective” spare capacity declined to an estimated 2.38 million barrels a day in April from 2.54 million the previous month, the IEA said. That excludes Iraq, Nigeria, Libya and Iran.