OPEC likely raised its total oil production in April, driven by another supply increase from Iran, one of the three OPEC members exempted from the OPEC+ production cuts, according to the monthly Reuters survey.
Iran raised its oil production by as much as 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) in April compared to March, to reach output of 2.5 million bpd, the Reuters survey showed on Friday.
Iran’s supply increase was the largest among all OPEC members, according to the survey of OPEC sources, sources at oil firms, and tanker-tracking data.
As a result of Iran’s higher output, the total production of all 13 members of OPEC rose by 100,000 bpd month over month to 25.17 million bpd in April.
The recent surveys and tanker tracking data show that Iran has been boosting its oil production and supply to the market in recent months.
In March, for example, it was a large increase in Iranian oil production that pushed overall OPEC oil output higher compared to February, last month’s Reuters survey found.
The official estimates from OPEC’s secondary sources pegged Iran’s oil production at 2.3 million bpd in March, up by 137,000 bpd from February, according to OPEC’s latest Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR). Related: Goldman: Oil To Hit $80 On Largest Ever Demand Jump
As per the Reuters survey for OPEC’s production in April, top producer Saudi Arabia kept output flat and delivered the additional extra cut it had pledged for February, March, and April.
Libya’s production fell in April because of a force majeure at the port of Hariga, which sent output below 1 million bpd for several days.
Libya, like Iran and Venezuela, is exempted from the OPEC+ cuts.
Iran is estimated to have not only raised its production, but also its oil exports in recent months despite the U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude exports. The world’s top oil importer, China, is buying most of Iran’s oil that circumvents the American sanctions.
The higher supply from Iran comes just as the OPEC+ group prepares to ramp up production and Saudi Arabia gets ready to start unwinding its extra cut as of May 1, which will see around 2 million bpd gradually added to the market over the next three months.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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