Image courtesy of Vincent Eisfeld/Wikimedia Commons.

OPEC production rose in March and climbed past the 32 million barrel per day mark as Iranian production continued to grow.

According to a report from Platts, OPEC production increased by 40,000 barrels per day to 32.38 million bpd last month.

While production dropped in United Arab Emirates (UAE), Libya, Nigeria and Venezuela those dips were offset by production growth in Iran, Iraq and Angola.

Iran produced 3.23 million bpd in March, a 110,000 bpd month-over-month boost that was the largest single increase posted by an OPEC member that month, Platts said.

Iran’s production has grown by 340,000 bpd since December as the country looks to increase its market share now that Western sanctions have been lifted.

“The rise is less dramatic than the country’s leaders had predicted, but it is still a notable increase as former buyers return to the market,” Platts said.

Platts said that demand for Iranian crude has increased from Indian and South Korean refiners.

France’s Total, Spain’s Cepsa and Russia’s Lukoil have also returned as customers since Western sanctions against Iran were lifted in January.

More Iranian crude is expected to make its way to Europe thanks to an increase in the level of reinsurance coverage for shipments of Iranian crude oil, according to the report.

“European banks are gradually showing more confidence in financing Iranian crude transactions,” Platts said.

Iran hopes to be producing about 4 million bpd in the new Iranian year that began on March 20, Platts added.

Output in Iraq rose to 4.16 million bpd in March after adding 30,000 bpd.

Angola’s output also climbed by 30,000 bpd in March to 1.8 million bpd, the country’s highest production level since December.

The UAE posted the largest fall in monthly output after production fell by 500,000 bpd in March to 2.8 million bpd due to ongoing partial planned field maintenance at the Murban field.

Nigerian production fell 20,000 bpd to 1.75 million bpd in March as a shut in of exports and production of Forcados crude continued after a sabotage-related spill on the subsea Forcados pipeline, Platts said.

Libya and Venezuela also posted declines in March production caused by power shortages.

Venezuela’s oil production slipped by 20,000 bpd in March as power rationing impacted oil and gas operations.

Power outages and technical issues pushed Libyan production down by 40,000 bpd in March to 320,000 bpd.

All 13 OPEC members as well as representatives from Russia, Oman and Bahrain will meet in Doha on Sunday in the hopes of agreeing on a production cut deal.

A representative from Mexico will also attend the meeting but will only observe the meeting, MSNBC said.

Iran will attend the meeting but has repeatedly said it will not consider cutting its own production.

“Neither Iran nor Iraq has made firm commitments to the Doha talks on April 17, but their collective stance could be a decisive element regarding any agreement over a production freeze,” Platts senior editor Eklavya Gupte said.


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