OPEC PRODUCTION UP 800,000 BPD
OPEC boosted its production to 30.72 million barrels per day in March, the group's highest monthly output since November 2012.
A new report by Platts found that OPEC added 800,000 bpd of production last month thanks to output growth in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Iraq led the pack with a 380,000 bpd output boost in March that lifted production to 3.53 million bpd, a healthy increase from the 3.15 million bpd the counry produced in February.
Saudi Arabia, the leading OPEC producer, pumped a record breaking 10 million bpd in March, up from 9.72 million bpd in February.
"The month-on-month increase for March is a big one that provides a lot of food for thought," Platts senior correspondent Margaret McQuaile said.
Saudi Arabia has stuck by OPEC's 30 million bpd production target even though the oil rich kingdom has faced months of criticism from fellow OPEC members and non-OPEC producers concerned about low oil prices.
Libya saw a 210,000 bpd production spike in March despite continued political unrest that has shut down multiple fields and oil ports.
The country is currently producing 480,000 bpd, an improvement over past production numbers but a far cry from the 1.6 million bpd it was pumping before dictator Muammar Qaddafi was overthrown in 2011.
A deal between Libya's two rival governments allowed production at some fields to restart in late March and brought the country's output to nearly 600,000 bpd at the end of the month, Platts said.
Production in Iran held steady at 2.85 million bpd as the country continues negotiating a sanction ending nuclear agreement with six world powers including the United States.
Earlier this month Iran agreed to a framework agreement that would lift western economic and oil sanctions in exchange for curbed nuclear enrichment.
While the deal has stoked concerns of a global supply glut International Energy Agency chief economist Faith Birol told the Wall Street Journal it will take three to five years for an Iranian production ramp up to move the market.
"Iran has huge oil and gas resources but to turn them into production needs capital and access to technology," Birol said.
Despite the month over month output boosts Platts said the short term production picture is far from clear.
"Saudi Arabia looks set to keep production around 10 million b/d. But the questions are: Can Iraq sustain this higher level? And what about Libya? Will we see another increase in April or will it be more of the same — up one month, down the next?" McQuaile said.
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REUTERS - Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 72 cents at $61.49 per barrel at 1020 GMT, having fallen by 1.5 percent on Tuesday, its largest one-day drop in a month. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was at $55.12 per barrel, down 58 cents.
BLOOMBERG - Prices dropped during the session as the International Energy Agency said the recent recovery in oil prices, coupled with milder-than-normal winter weather, is slowing demand growth. The worsening outlook for consumption dampened some of the enthusiasm that OPEC and its allies will extend supply curbs.
Global energy needs rise more slowly than in the past but still expand by 30% between today and 2040. This is the equivalent of adding another China and India to today’s global demand.
Product exports have grown significantly over the past several years and are expected to continue to grow as Russian refineries add capacity to produce more high-quality products.