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Is OPEC Fighting A Losing Battle?

Egypt

Friday January 19, 2018

In the latest edition of the Numbers Report, we’ll take a look at some of the most interesting figures put out this week in the energy sector. Each week we’ll dig into some data and provide a bit of explanation on what drives the numbers.

Let’s take a look.

1. Venezuela’s oil production plunges

(Click to enlarge)

- OPEC reports monthly production figures in two ways, one from secondary (independent) sources, and also using data reported to them from member governments. Venezuela has typically overstated its production relative to the secondary sources, likely in order to downplay the crisis it faces.
- But in the latest report, Venezuela itself said that its production plunged by 216,000 bpd in December, a massive decline, taking output down to 1.621 mb/d, its lowest level in decades. The secondary sources reported a more modest, but still severe, decline of 82,000 bpd.
- If the government data is accurate, it points to a deeper, more serious decline underway than most market analysts thought. Venezuela lost 649,000 bpd in 2017, a decline of about 29 percent.
- The losses are surely set to continue. Francisco Monaldi of Rice University says that output could fall to 1.3 mb/d this year.

2. China’s aggressive clean energy spending

(Click to enlarge)

- China spent $33 billion on clean energy last year, an increase of nearly 25 percent from a year…

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