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OPEC’s crude oil production rose by 390,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 25.46 million bpd in May 2021, the cartel said on Thursday as it started last month the gradual easing of the production cuts.
The largest monthly increases in oil production came from top producer Saudi Arabia, followed by production hikes in two of the three OPEC members exempted from the OPEC+ agreement—Iran and Venezuela, OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report showed on Thursday.
The third producer exempted from the cuts, Libya, also raised its crude oil production in May compared to April, when output was lower due to several days of force majeure at one of the oil export terminals.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and leader of the OPEC+ alliance alongside Russia, boosted its production by 345,000 bpd to 8.466 million bpd in May, OPEC’s secondary sources showed. Apart from the higher production allowed under the deal, the Saudis also began unwinding last month the unilateral 1 million bpd extra cut they implemented between February and April. Saudi Arabia is gradually easing its extra cut between May and July, beginning with monthly production increases of 250,000 bpd in both May and June.
Saudi Arabia self-reported higher production in May compared to OPEC’s secondary sources. The Kingdom told OPEC that its crude oil production rose by as much as 410,000 bpd from April to an average of 8.544 million bpd in May.
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Nigeria and Angola, on the other hand, registered the largest declines in production within OPEC last month, by 72,000 bpd and 60,000 bpd, respectively.
Oil production in OPEC’s Gulf members bound by the pact increased. Iraq raised its output by 33,000 bpd, Kuwait increased production by 32,000 bpd, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) pumped 28,000 bpd more in May than in April.
Iran raised its crude oil production by 42,000 bpd to 2.455 million bpd in May, according to the secondary sources OPEC uses to track output. The Islamic Republic has been signaling for weeks that it is preparing to hike production as talks are ongoing in Vienna about a potential return of Iran and the United States to the nuclear deal, which, ultimately, would lead to the lifting of the U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.