Opec oil output rises in August on Libyan data

August 29, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

LONDON: Opec’s oil production has risen in August from July, a Reuters survey found yesterday, as a recovery in Libyan supply held up and Angola and Iran boosted supplies, outweighing a further decline in Iraq.

The survey also found Saudi Arabia and other core Gulf Opec producers kept output largely flat and have not cut back to prop up prices, which in August dipped to a 14-month low near $101 a barrel, or to make room for higher Libyan output.

Supply from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has averaged 30.15 million barrels per day (b/d) in August, up from 30.06m b/d in July, according to the survey based on shipping data and information from sources at oil companies, Opec and consultants.

The 12-member Opec pumps a third of the world’s oil. In August, the largest increase has come from Libya, where supply is up by 100,000 b/d. Still, a linear recovery looks unlikely, analysts say, due to continued conflict. “I think it will continue, but with setbacks and very slowly,” said Carsten Fritsch, commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. “It will not be a one-way street.”

For now, increases in Libya, Angola and Iran have put Opec’s  output above the group’s nominal target of 30m b/d for a second month. Involuntary outages, such as in Libya, kept output below 30m b/d in earlier months of the year.

Another sizeable increase has come from Angola, where four cargoes of CLOV crude, a new stream operated by Total, have loaded in August, compared with none in July.

Iranian output climbed in August following a few months of lower sales, the survey found, on higher exports. Iranian output and exports have risen since the start of the year, following a softening of Western sanctions on Iran over its nuclear work.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, kept supply to market largely flat, industry sources said. In Saudi Arabia, high levels of domestic crude burning in power plants offset lower exports, they said.

Of the countries with falling output, the biggest drop of 140,000 b/d has come from Iraq because of a decline in oil exports from its southern terminals due to weather delays.

Iraqi oil officials say the southern fields have not been affected by fighting in other parts of the country. But violence has hit supply of Kirkuk crude from the north and shut down the Baiji refinery, keeping crude output below Iraq’s potential.

Opec is not scheduled to meet to review output policy until November and a dip in prices — Brent crude reached $101.07 on August 19, a 14-month low — has not caused concern, according to delegates and ministers.

“The decline in crude prices is due to seasonal fluctuations and will not last,” Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, was quoted on Tuesday by Iranian news service Shana as saying.