Iraq records highest monthly output level since November

Mar 14, 2002 01:00 AM

OPEC produced 25.19 mm bpd of crude in February 2002, as Iraqi volumes rose to their highest level since November, according to oil industry officials. Excluding Iraq, whose exports are controlled by the United Nations (UN) under the oil-for-food program, the other 10 OPEC members managed to shave a further 60,000 bpd off their combined output to pump an average of 22.69-mm bpd in February-989,000 bpd in excess of their self-imposed 21.701-mm bpd production ceiling.
Iran and Libya increased production by 50,000 bpd and 10,000 bpd respectively, offsetting half of the 120,000 bpd of decreases by Algeria, Kuwait, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. Indonesia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Venezuela maintained their January output levels in February, and all 10 members with quotas exceeded them.

The 180,000 bpd increase in overall OPEC output was attributable largely to Iraq, whose production recovered by 240,000 bpd to 2.5-mm bpd in February from 2.26-mm bpd in January. It was Baghdad's highest monthly output level since November. "Despite this increase in overall OPEC supply, the price of crude not only did not fall, it rose by a significant amount in the last month," said John Kingston, Platts global director of oil.
Kingston noted that on February 4, Platts' daily assessment for West Texas Intermediate sunk to $ 20. On March 11, by contrast, it stood at $ 24.25. "The one factor in the market that appears to be having an impact is the Russian plan to restrain exports in support of OPEC. While it has not been flawless, the glut of crude within the Russian domestic market itself is testament to the fact that it has worked to some degree, and appears to have partly offset the rising level of output from OPEC as a whole, including Iraq."

Kingston also stated that the most recent monthly report of the International Energy Agency revealed the group has yet again lowered its forecast for demand growth during the rest of 2002, and rising OPEC output is moving into a market that may feature softer consumption levels.
OPEC's current pact is scheduled to run to the end of June.

Source: Al-Bawaba
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