OPEC pumps 32.52mn barrels of oil per day in April

This rise in output occurred after OPEC and non-OPEC producers failed to agree on a proposal to freeze output in Doha on April 17 in a bid to stabilise prices

OPEC oil output soared by 140,000 bpd to 32.52mn bpd in April.
OPEC oil output soared by 140,000 bpd to 32.52mn bpd in April.

Oil production from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) soared by 140,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 32.52mn bpd in April as Iran and Iraq ramped up production by a hefty 150,000bpd each, according to the latest survey by S&P Global Platts.

This rise in output occurred after OPEC and non-OPEC producers failed to agree on a proposal to freeze output in Doha on April 17 in a bid to stabilise prices.

Iraq's output in April rose to 4.31mn bpd, with production recovering after falling from its January high.

This recovery was driven by a steady increase in its southern exports along with a jump in volumes from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, which were down the previous two months due to disruption to exports via the pipeline which transports crude from northern Iraq and Iraqi-Kurdistan to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.

Iraq recently said it is targeting its crude production to rise to 4.8mn bpd by the end of this year as it hopes to tackle a fiscal crisis as plans to further develop the oil and gas sector take shape.

Iran's output in April also rose by 150,000bpd from the previous month to 3.38mn bpd, and is now up by 490,000 bpd since December which is close to the 500,000 bpd figure Iran had flagged as its immediate target when sanctions were lifted on January 16.

The country has made steady progress in regaining market share, boosted especially by resurgent Indian and South Korean demand.

The National Iranian Oil Company’s chief Rokneddin Javadi recently said that average crude oil and condensate exports in April doubled to over 2mn bpd from the level to which they sank in 2012 and that output had reached 3.7mn bpd.

The United Arab Emirates and Indonesia showed upticks in output thanks to the return of the UAE's Murban field in mid-April after completing maintenance and OPEC's newest member saw a slight rise after the ExxonMobil-operated Cepu block achieved peak production earlier this year.

Saudi edges lower

Saudi Arabia saw a decline in output by 20,000 bpd to 10.18mn bpd due to field maintenance as OPEC's largest producer temporarily cut volumes of its major export grade, Arab Heavy.

Saudi Arabia has around 2mn bpd in spare capacity and analysts suggest that production could easily be increased slightly at other fields to make up the shortfall.

This was the first time this year that Saudi production has fallen and comes after the OPEC kingpin seemed to make an 11th hour move to pull the plug on the Doha freeze plan.

Nigeria, Kuwait weigh

Nigeria and Kuwait posted a steep fall in production as the latter was hit by a three-day strike by oil sector workers which crippled production but still allowed the country to meet its supply obligations, both locally and internationally.

Kuwait's output in April fell to 2.68mn bpd, a fall of 100,000 bpd from March, as production dropped to as low as 1.1mn bpd during the protest over plans for a new payroll scheme.

Nigerian production in April slumped to 1.67mn bpd as militant attacks intensified in the Niger Delta thwarting output. A shorter April export program also added to a sharp decline, analysts said.

Forcados production continues to be shut-in and repairs at the Forcados sub-sea export pipeline are expected to be completed in June.

The country was also hit by a four-day force majeure on Brass River exports in April.

Worryingly, pipeline attacks and violence have been on the rise in its main oil-producing region since authorities issued an arrest warrant in January for a former militant leader on corruption charges.

OPEC's Latin American contingent, Venezuela and Ecuador, also recorded lower output in April.

Venezuela's bedraggled oil sector continues to suffer from power rationing, while Ecuador's more stable oil industry was hit by an earthquake that impacted operations at its SOTE Trans-Andean crude pipeline and the 110,000 bpd main refinery at Esmeraldas.

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