OPEC’s second-largest producer, Iraq, produced just 4.15 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil in March, well below its quota under the OPEC+ agreement, according to data from Iraqi state oil marketing firm SOMO seen by Reuters.
Iraq’s crude oil production was down by 112,000 bpd last month compared to the previous month, the data seen by Reuters on Tuesday showed.
As part of the OPEC+ deal, OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer after Saudi Arabia was allowed to pump as much as 4.370 million bpd in March. Iraq’s production, however, per SOMO data, was more than 220,000 bpd short of that target, signaling that a growing number of members of the OPEC+ alliance are struggling and will be struggling to pump to quotas as the group lifts its nominal production targets each month by 400,000 bpd.
Last week, the OPEC+ meeting concluded that no change in production plans was needed, agreeing to lift the group’s production by another 432,000 barrels per day starting in May.
The 32,000 bpd above the originally agreed to 400,000 bpd is due to shifting baselines of five of its members.
Saudi Arabia’s production quota has been lifted to 10.549 million bpd, with Russia’s quota raised to the same amount. The UAE’s quota is 3.04 million bpd, Kuwait’s is 2,694 million bpd, while Iraq’s is 4.461 million bpd.
The extension of the agreement as-is was a largely expected move by the market.
Yet, the latest data showed that most OPEC members continue to underperform in reaching their agreed-upon targets, leaving a much wider supply gap in the market than many estimates had forecast.
In March, for yet another month, OPEC failed to achieve all the planned increase for the cartel as part of the OPEC+ agreement.
OPEC’s oil production averaged 28.54 million bpd last month, just 90,000 bpd higher than in February, compared to the 253,000 bpd monthly increase allowed in the OPEC+ deal, the monthly Reuters survey found last week.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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