Image courtesy of Priwo/Wikimedia Commons.

OPEC production fell by 90,000 barrels per day in February but still managed to stay well above 30 million barrels per day.

According to Platts, OPEC production slipped to 32.34 million bpd last month despite higher volumes from Iran.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer, maintained output at 10.2 million barrels per day.

Although Saudi Arabia held talks with Russia in January to discuss a potential output freeze any deal would be dependent on other OPEC and non-OPEC producers agreeing on a plan.

Iran’s plan to ramp up production now that Western crude sanctions have been lifted is also expected to complicate any production freeze deal.

Iran boosted output by 210,000 bpd to 3.12 million bpd in February and several of Iran’s former customers, including France’s Total and Russia’s Lukoil, are expected to purchase crude from the oil rich country.

“Now, one of the biggest questions for OPEC – and Saudi Arabia – is how many additional barrels will be flowing onto the market at a time of continuing oversupply,” Platts senior correspondent Margaret McQuaile said.

The rise in Iranian output was offset by a sharp production drop in Iraq, OPEC’s second largest producer.

Iraq accounted for the biggest production decline in February with output falling 200,000 bpd sequentially to 4.13 million bpd last month.

Iraq’s steep production decline was primarily tied to the closure of a key pipeline in the middle of February after attacks on the Turkish section of the line.

Oil from operations in the northern province of Kirkuk had been flowing at about 610,000 bpd before the pipeline outage.

Two industry officials told Platts that flows through the line restarted last Friday but they did not confirm pumping rates.

Production also dipped in Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates and Libya, but inched up in Angola and Kuwait.

Nigerian production dipped 80,000 bpd month-over-month to 1.77 million bpd as attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta region escalated.

UAE production in February dipped by 50,000 bpd from January to 2.85 million bpd due to field maintenance while production in Libya ticked down by 10,000 bpd to 360,000 bpd.

A United Nations -brokered deal between Libya’s two rival governments that created a national unity government in January has so far failed to “create any semblance of political stability in the country,” Platts said.

Angola boosted its output by 30,000 bpd in February thanks to an export program that increased loading of crude grades such as CLOV and Saturno.

Angola’s state-owned Sonangol warned earlier this year that it expects 2016 to be rocky but it hopes to boost production despite low prices.


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