OPEC pumps 31.17mn bpd in November: Platts

November's output was an increase of 90,000 bpd from October's 31.08mn bpd, driven mostly by higher volumes from Iraq

Abdullah El-Badri, OPEC Secretary General.
Abdullah El-Badri, OPEC Secretary General.

Oil production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) totalled 31.17mn barrels per day (bpd) in November, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials and analysts showed.

November’s output was an increase of 90,000 bpd from October's 31.08mn bpd, driven mostly by higher volumes from Iraq.

"OPEC's failure to agree a ceiling at its recent meeting doesn't necessarily mean a big increase in output is on the cards," said Margaret McQuaile, senior correspondent for Platts. "The previous ceiling had no individual country quotas and therefore could not be enforced. So, in practical terms, policy remains unchanged."

The 100,000 bpd increase in Iraqi output in November came alongside record exports of 3.365mn bpd from the south. These were made possible by substantial withdrawals from stocks that had built up the previous month because of lower exports.

According to Ioil minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, Iraq exported a total 4.5mn barrels on a single day in November.

Abdul-Mahdi, in an interview with Platts after OPEC's December 4 meeting in Vienna, was upbeat about Iraq's production prospects, flagging a further potential output increase of as much as 200,000 bpd over the next year or so.

The estimate for Iraq currently does not include volumes from semi-autonomous Kurdistan beyond those delivered by the Kurdistan Regional Government to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on behalf of Iraqi state oil marketer SOMO.

From January, however, when the survey will cover OPEC's December output, the Iraq estimate will be expanded to include volumes from Kurdistan.

Saudi Arabia maintained output comfortably above 10mn bpd, a level it has consistently exceeded since March this year. It is the only OPEC country with significant surplus capacity, claiming total production capacity of 12.5mn bpd and telling OPEC earlier this year that it pumped a record 10.564mn bpd at the wellhead in June.

The outcome of OPEC's December 4 meeting - the effective removal of any notional ceiling on output - underscores Riyadh's continuing commitment to the market share strategy it espoused a year ago, despite continuing oil price weakness.

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