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Ron Patterson

Ron Patterson

Ron Patterson is a retired computer engineer. He worked in Saudi Arabia for five years, two years at the Ghazlan Power Plant near Ras Tanura…

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OPEC Production Declines Despite Iran’s Efforts

All charts are through February 2016

The OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report just came out. The charts are “Crude Only” production and do not reflect condensate production.
Also the charts, except for Libya, are not zero based. I chose to amplify the change rather than the total. OPEC is now 13 nations with the addition of Indonesia.

All Data is in thousand barrels per day.

(Click to enlarge)

OPEC production was down 174,800 barrels per day in February

OPEC uses secondary sources such as Platts and other agencies to report their production numbers. These numbers are pretty accurate and usually have only slight revisions month to month. The big gainer in February was Iran. The big losers were Iraq, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.

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Algeria peaked in November 2007 and has been in a steady decline since that point. Related: Is The Latest Rally Yet Another False Start?

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Angola has been holding steady since peaking in 2008 and 2010.

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Ecuador appears to have peaked last year. It is likely production will be down, but only slightly, in 2016.

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Sanctions were just lifted, in the middle of January, on Iran. Their production was up 187,800 barrels per day in February to 3,123,000 bpd. I expect their production to be up by from 500 to 600 thousand barrels per day by year’s end. However I believe Iran will be the only OPEC nation with any significant production increase in 2016. Most other OPEC countries will, I believe, be flat to down slightly.

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Iraq took a huge hit in February, down 263,000 barrels per day to 4,156,000 bpd. This will likely be the norm for Iraq for several years, above 4 million bpd but below 4.5 million bpd.

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Kuwait has increased production slightly in the last two months but I don’t expect that trend to continue. Related: Oil Falls As Short Covering Seems To Have Run Its Course

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Libya is struggling with its own Arab Spring. There is no way of knowing when, if ever, peace will break out there. I think it extremely unlikely they will produce as much as 1,000,000 bpd within the next 5 years or so. But right now production seems to be holding steady at around 400,000 bpd.

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Nigeria is struggling with its own political revolution. But I think its natural decline is now obvious. In February it dropped 94,000 bpd to 1,754,000 1,754,000 bpd, the lowest since August of 2009.

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I believe Saudi is producing every barrel they possibly can. They will be lucky to hold this level for much longer.


Qatar has lots of natural gas but its oil production has clearly peaked and is now in decline.

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The UAE’s infill drilling program, I believe, has petered out. I look for them to hold at around current levels for another year or so before beginning a slow decline.

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Not much can be said about Venezuela. Their conventional oil is in decline but their bitumen production is keeping production relatively flat. They took a hit in January however, down 33,000 bpd but were up 2,000 bpd in February. Related: IEA Sees “Light At The End Of The Tunnel” For Oil Markets

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The combined production of OPEC, less Saudi Arabia and Iraq, peaked in January 2008 at 20,790,000 bpd and is down 2,810,000 bpd since that date 17,980,000 bpd.

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In the last 12 months Saudi Arabia plus Iraq have increased their production by 1,329,000 bpd while the other 11 OPEC nations have increased theirs production by 308,000 bpd. But that run is over, any major increase in production in the next few years will come from Iran. It remains to be seen whether Iran’s increase will be greater than the decline of the other 12 OPEC nations.

By Ron Patterson

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Leave a comment
  • Jack L. on March 15 2016 said:
    (It remains to be seen whether Iran’s increase will be greater than the decline of the other 12 OPEC nations.) HAHAHA! Of course they will? They hate SA and SA hate Iran. They will do battle over price till .... eternity.
  • Blake K. on March 16 2016 said:
    Are the Platts numbers based on out of the ground production, or sold/shipped cargoes? Iran had a lot of oil in storage, and I am wondering if this spike is actual production, or just stored oil hitting the market.

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