OPEC’s crude production increased by 40,000 bpd in August over July to a record-high in recent times, with Saudi Arabia likely setting a fresh output record, according to the Reuters survey published on Wednesday.
The closely-followed survey is based on shipping data and information provided by industry sources. Last month, total OPEC output rose to 33.5 million bpd from 33.46 million bpd for July, with output by Middle Eastern producers offsetting oil taken offline in Africa’s Nigeria and Libya.
Reuters sources said that Saudi Arabia had likely reached a new production record. The survey puts the output of OPEC’s biggest exporter at 10.70 million bpd, up from 10.67 million bpd. Some industry sources even predict that Saudi Arabia may have pumped 10.90 million bpd in August.
According to the survey, among the Middle Eastern countries, output rose last month in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and UAE, while Iran’s production was flat.
Outside the Middle East, production dropped in Nigeria due to militant attacks on oil infrastructure, in Libya amid political power struggles and militancy, and in Venezuela after being plagued by an economic crisis.
OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report, in which it will release August production figures, is due out on September 12. Related: Slave Shipyards: The Oil Industry's Shocking Secret
In July, Saudi Arabia had ramped up production to a record high, and if Reuters survey is right, it would have done so in August, too.
Just a day ago, Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said that Saudi Arabia does not have a specific target for its oil production and will continue to pursue a production policy that “will maintain a large degree of responsibility”.
The Saudis have been entertaining the media and oil investors with comments and hints about production as all eyes are riveted on the September 26-28 OPEC meeting in Algiers.
Iraq and Iran have also joined the chatter game. On Tuesday, Iraq said it would support a freeze in oil production, and last week, Iran laid out conditions for joining a potential OPEC output freeze. Iran will cooperate “so long as fellow OPEC members recognize its right to regain lost market share”, Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zanganeh said.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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