Driven by a faster-than-expected comeback of Libyan oil production, OPEC’s crude output jumped in November by 750,000 barrels per day (bpd), the fifth consecutive increase in the cartel’s production, the monthly Reuters survey showed on Monday.
The 13 members of OPEC have produced a total of 25.31 million bpd in November, a massive 750,000 bpd increase from October as Libya’s oil production rose by nearly 700,000 bpd, according to the Reuters survey of ship-tracking data and sources from OPEC, consultants, and oil companies.
OPEC’s crude oil production in November was the fifth increase in output since the 22.69-million-bpd low the cartel was estimated to pump in June—the lowest level of OPEC production since the 1991 Gulf war.
According to the Reuters survey for November, top producer Saudi Arabia kept its production steady compared to October, as did Kuwait. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has been rumored to be reconsidering its position in OPEC, increased its oil production by 90,000 bpd, but was complying with its quota.
Libya, which is exempted from the OPEC+ production cuts, single-handedly offset the compliance with the cuts, which, as per the Reuters survey, stood at 102 percent in November. Related: Has Asia Lost Interest In North Sea Oil?
Production in the other two OPEC members exempted from the OPEC+ pact—Iran and Venezuela—also increased, according to the survey.
Libya’s oil production has returned to 1.25 million bpd, the level it was pumping before the port blockade in January. This poses another conundrum for the OPEC and OPEC+ members whose energy ministers meet virtually on Monday and Tuesday to decide how to proceed with the current production cuts. Libya has said that it would not join the OPEC+ quotas until its output stabilizes at 1.7 million bpd.
The Libyan surge in production and the weaker outlook about oil demand in view of the surging COVID-19 cases in major developed economies are complicating the OPEC+ task this week. The market largely expects the current cuts of 7.7 million bpd to be rolled over for another three months to March 2021, instead of eased by 2 million bpd from January 2021, as originally planned.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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