OPEC December output drops to two-year low

opec03 January 2014, Lagos – The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) crude production dropped to the lowest level in more than two years in December, led by a decline in Venezuelan output, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Output by the 12-member countries of the organisation decreased 33,000 barrels to an average 29.955 million barrels a day in December, from 29.988 million in November, the survey of oil companies, producers and analysts showed.

The November total was revised lower by 19,000 because of changes to the Kuwaiti and Ecuadorean estimates. Production had slipped to the lowest level since July 2011 as ministers decided to keep their output target unchanged at 30 million barrels a day on December 4 in Vienna.

“OPEC production has taken a downward direction since September and it’s continuing,” an analyst, Mohammed al-Shatti wrote in Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s newsletter.

“OPEC is expected to produce at below the group’s agreed ceiling of 30 million barrels a day in the first quarter of 2014 and that is a major support for the stability of current price levels,” al-Shatti added.
The Iraqi government is installing offshore crude loading equipment to help raise export capacity to 4 million barrels a day next year. Iraq also plans to increase crude production capacity by 500,000 barrels a day in 2014 by boosting output at current wells and adding new fields.

Nigeria’s production rose 41,000 barrels a day to 1.931 million in December, the second-biggest gain in the survey. Production is often disrupted by unrest in the Niger River delta, the country’s main oil-producing region.

Saudi Arabian crude output rose 30,000 barrels a day to 9.68 million. The desert kingdom pumped 10 million barrels a day in September, the most in monthly data going back to 1989.

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