A further boost in Iraqi production took the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)'s overall crude output to 27.28 million barrels per day (bpd) in September, an increase of 410,000 bpd from August's 26.87 million bpd, a Platts survey showed.
Excluding Iraq, however, combined output from OPEC's ten members, bound by official output quotas, was just 10,000 bpd up on August levels at 25.85 million bpd, the survey revealed.
Iraq's continuing efforts to raise production towards pre-war levels produced an additional 400,000 bpd over the month to yield average output of 1.43 million bpd in September.
Among the OPEC-10, Algeria, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria and Qatar pumped an additional 170,000 bpd between them. The only significant cut came from Saudi Arabia, whose production dropped from 8.65 million bpd in August to 8.5 million bpd in September. The United Arab Emirates (UAE)’ output fell slightly, by 10,000 bpd, to 2.26 million bpd. The OPEC-10 exceeded their current 25.4-mil bpd ceiling, which remains in effect until the end of October, by 450,000 bpd, the survey showed.
"Consumers and OPEC see a world that is vastly different, far more different than their usual split in perspective," said global director of oil at Platts, John Kingston.
"Consumers see high gasoline numbers at the pump and are baffled by news reports that OPEC is cutting back in order to stem any fall in prices. Meanwhile, OPEC sees a world in which, as our survey shows, Iraqi production rose 400,000 bpd in a month, is continuing to gain on the levels the country produced pre-war, and it confronts the very real prospect of three million bpd coming out of there by the end of 2004. It is a prospect that scares the OPEC countries greatly, and the group wants to tackle that issue sooner rather than later."
OPEC ministers meeting in Vienna Sep 24 took markets by surprise with a decision to cut the current ceiling by 900,000 bpd to 24.5 million bpd from the beginning of November. Some ministers have warned that further cuts may be necessary to support prices, which they say could come under pressure from rising commercial inventories, higher non-OPEC output and recovering Iraqi production.
This means that the OPEC-10 need to cut output by 1.35 million bpd by November 1 to comply with the new ceiling. But some analysts and industry officials believe that OPEC-10 production could increase further in October as some members take the opportunity to maximize their output before the new cuts come into effect. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )