S&P Global Platts survey has shown that, after four months of decline, OPEC’s collective crude oil production in April held relatively steady from March, rising just 30,000 b/d to 30.26mbd.
Individual output levels among the 14 OPEC members varied month-on-month, with Iran’s sanctions-induced slump, and Angola’s drop offset by significant rises in Nigeria and Iraq, and recoveries in crisis-torn Libya and Venezuela, the survey revealed.
Nigeria’s output has been on the rise since the beginning of the year. Albeit, the country’s crude production output is 1.95 million barrels daily (mbd) for April. It, however, remains below the 2019 budget benchmark of 2.3mbpd at $60 per barrel.
The survey also revealed that compliance in April was 116 percent among the 11 OPEC members with output quotas largely due to Saudi discipline.
Saudi Arabia held its April output at 9.82mbd, the lowest in over four years, and well below its quota under an OPEC/non-OPEC accord, according to the survey, as it continues to demonstrate considerable restraint in hopes of bolstering oil prices.
The kingdom, which says it has a total production capacity of 12.5 million b/d, faces immense pressure from the U.S. to keep the oil market well-supplied in the event of a squeeze due to sanctions but must weigh its own internal budgetary aims, as well as OPEC unity.
Iran, whose production has fallen due U.S. sanctions between January 2012 and January 2016 pumped 2.57mbd in April, a 120,000 b/d drop from March, and the lowest since December 1988, the Platts survey found, as many buyers began to shy away in anticipation of the U.S. decision on the sanctions waivers.
Libya, which does not have a quota, produced 1.10mbd in April, the highest since June 2013, as it benefited from the ramp-up of its Sharara field, which is prone to security according to the survey.
Venezuela, which is also under U.S sanctions, saw some recovery from power outages that had crippled the country in March to pump 780,000 b/d, though many oil facilities are still impaired and production remains well below its peak. In Angola, declines at mature fields brought production down to 1.41mbd in April — the lowest level since it joined OPEC in 2007 — even with the new Kaombo field coming online.