Opec output surges to 31.4m bpd in March
London, April 7, 2012
The crude oil production from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) increased to 31.39 million barrels per day (bpd) in March compared to 31.27 million bpd the previous month, according to a new report.
This marks an increase of 120,000 bpd over February, said a survey by Platts, a leading provider of energy, petrochemicals and metals information and a premier source of benchmark prices for the physical and futures markets.
A breakdown of the numbers shows production increases totalling 320,000 bpd from Iraq, Libya and Saudi Arabia were partly offset by decreases totalling 200,000 bpd from Angola and Iran, the Platts survey of Opec and oil industry officials and analysts stated.
'Two things really jump out about these numbers,' remarked John Kingston, Platts global director of news.
'First, it's hard to argue that Opec isn't doing its part in keeping the world supplies of oil growing, and given traditional soft Q2 demand, inventories should be growing. Second, it was just a matter of time before Iran supplies would show signs of ebbing as shipping sanctions start to restrict its ability to send out normal crude exports,' he added.
Iranian volumes fell by 100,000 bpd to 3.4 million bpd, said the Platts survey.
An European Union ban on the import and transport of Iranian oil is not due to come into force until July 1 but is already having an impact as refiners seek replacement supplies or, because of insurance issues, face difficulties in finding ships willing to carry Iranian crude, it added.
The threat of US financial sanctions against countries which do not significantly reduce their imports of Iranian oil is also having an impact on Iran's oil exports.
Meanwhile, Iraqi volumes showed a sizeable increase, as a result of higher exports from the south, although a new single point mooring system -- the first of five planned to come into operation by 2014 -- had to be halted for maintenance after loading just one tanker.
Libyan output has continued to recover and is now just 250,000 bpd short of pre-uprising levels, the survey estimating the March average at 1.35 million bpd, up 100,000 bpd from February.
According to Platts, Saudi Arabia increased output to 9.9 million bpd in March from 9.85 million bpd in February.
Angola, with fewer cargoes loaded in March, also saw volumes fall by 100,000 b/d, the survey showed.
The March estimate leaves Opec exceeding its 30 million bpd output target by 1.39 million bpd. The target does not include individual country quotas, it added.-TradeArabia News Service