OPEC output down in December, still above self-imposed ceiling
Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) produced 25.83 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in December, down 970,000 bpd from November, but still 599,000 bpd above its self-imposed ceiling, according to OPEC and oil industry officials surveyed by Platts, the global energy information research, consulting and marketing services business of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
The relatively large month-to-month drop was attributed mainly to Iraq, whose exports fell considerably amid uncertainty over official Iraqi selling prices. Excluding Iraq, which does not have an OPEC quota, production from the remaining 10 members fell by just 190,000 bpd to 23.81 million bpd, 599,000 bpd above the 23.20 million bpd ceiling.
A new, lower ceiling of 21.701 million bpd came into effect January 1, following OPEC's December 28 meeting in Cairo, Egypt. It is widely believed that OPEC is unlikely to achieve anything close to the 2.1 million bpd cut it would have to make this month in order to comply fully with its new ceiling.
"The drop in OPEC production for December is misleading in that without Iraq, the cartel's production was down just 190,000 bpd," said Peter Zipf, editor-in-chief of Platts Oilgram News. "Because OPEC left it until late December to confirm its cut, compliance is unlikely to be high in January. The key figures to watch will be the members' output performance in February."
Indonesia, whose oil production has been steadily falling, was the only country to produce within quota in December. Other countries exceeded their quotas by volumes ranging from a few thousand barrels in the case of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to as much as 239,000 bpd in the case of Nigeria. Apart from Libya, which maintained output at November levels, and Kuwait, whose production rose slightly, most countries decreased output. Iraq accounted for the single biggest drop—780,000 bpd—while other decreases ranged between 10,000 bpd and 70,000 bpd. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)