OPEC members pumped a combined 31.93 million barrels of crude daily last month, down 153,000 bpd from February, the group said in the latest edition of its Monthly Oil Market Report.
The group’s leader, Saudi Arabia, was said to have produced 9.9 million bpd in March, more than 100,000 bpd below its monthly quota assigned under the production cut deal. Sources from the Kingdom yesterday said that Riyadh is ready to discuss an extension to the agreement into the second half of the year, strengthening the oil price rally that began last week, after the U.S. airstrikes against Syrian army targets.
According to OPEC, crude oil supply from non-members this year will average 57.89 million bpd, thanks to growing output in the U.S. and modest declines in Colombia and China. The figure is 176,000 bpd higher than what OPEC expected the non-OPEC world to produce this year in its report for February.
In the U.S. alone, OPEC forecast that production will grow at an average rate of 540,000 bpd, up from last month’s forecast of a 340,000 bpd growth rate.
On the demand front, OPEC expects the world to need 96.32 million barrels daily, a growth rate of 1.27 million bpd. India and the “Other Asia” group of countries as designated by OPEC to exclude China, will lead this growth, while China will be second, followed by the Americas. Related: Is The Oil Price Rally Running Out Of Steam?
Demand for oil from OPEC is seen growing by 600,000 bpd from 2016, to 32.2 million barrels daily. This theoretically means that at March production figures OPEC members have achieved their goal of rebalancing the oil market. In reality, non-OPEC supply can quickly take OPEC’s place, so the cartel is not taking any chances and an extension of the cut deal is becoming more of a certainty than a mere probability.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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