Image courtesy of Day Donaldson/Flickr.

Low oil prices still haven’t put a dent in OPEC production as the group added more than 100,000 barrels per day in production last month.

According to S&P Global Platts, OPEC oil production rose by 140,000 barrels per day to 32.52 million bpd in April as Iran and Iraq each ramped up production by 150,000 bpd.

OPEC members and some representatives from non-OPEC countries met in Doha last month in an effort to negotiate a production freeze agreement.

However, Saudi Arabia’s reluctance to sign onto an agreement without Iran’s participation doomed the deal.

“Iran and Iraq’s hefty production increases fly in the face of the failed Doha production freeze talks. The question is how much higher can and will they go before production plateaus, because that would make a resurrection of a freeze plan at the June OPEC meeting more plausible,” S&P Global Platts associate editorial director Paul Hickin said.

Iraq’s output grew to 4.31 million bpd in April as production recovered after falling from its January high.

Iraq is targeting a crude production level of 4.8 million bpd by the end of this year.

Iran’s output climbed by 150,000 bpd month-over-month to 3.38 million bpd in April.

Iran’s output has grown by 490,000 bpd since December, just 10,000 bpd shy of Iran’s short-term growth target.

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

Saudi Arabia’s output declined by 20,000 bpd to 10.18 million bpd last month due to field maintenance.

The fall marked the first time this year that Saudi Arabia’s output has fallen.

According to Platts, Saudi Arabia has about 2 million bpd in spare capacity that could allow it to increase output to offset shortfalls at some fields.

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said on Tuesday that his company is planning to boost production to meet growing global demand.

Saudi Arabia has consistently pumped at least 10 million bpd since late 2014.

Newly appointed Saudi Arabian Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih is expected to continue Saudi Arabia’s current production policy.

A three-day long strike in Kuwait dragged output down to 2.68 million bpd in April, a 100,000 bpd month-over-month decline.

Despite the strike, Kuwait was still able to meet its local and international supply obligations, Platts said.

A growing wave of militant attacks in Nigeria and a shorter export program in April caused the county’s production to fall to 1.67 million bpd.

Earlier this month, production was shut in at Chevron’s Okan offshore facility in the Western Niger Delta following a militant attack.

The attacks reportedly prompted Shell to evacuate 98 key personnel from the Eja OML 79 platform with helicopters over the weekend, according to All Africa.

Chevron’s General Manager, Policies, Government and Public Affairs Deji Haastrup told the Punch last week that the shut-in will not impact the company’s crude exports.

A small group of staff members were reportedly kept on the platform to conduct skeletal operations.

Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa but sporadic supply disruptions have resulted in unplanned outages of up to 500,000 barrels per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Production also fell in Venezuela as that country continues to deal with chronic power shortages while an earthquake negatively impacted output in Ecuador. 

OPEC will host its next regular meeting in Vienna on June 2.


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