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Oil Prices Fall As OPEC Output Hits ‘’Year-To-Date High’’

Libya and Nigeria pushed OPEC’s crude oil output in July to the highest this year, at 32.82 million barrels daily, a survey by S&P Platts has revealed. The cartel is reporting its production figures this Thursday.

According to Platts, the combined production of Libya and Nigeria, both exempt from the cuts agreed to last November, went up by 210,000 bpd last month, with Libya pumping about 990,000 bpd and Nigeria producing 1.81 million bpd. Saudi Arabia, according to Platts, pumped 10.05 million bpd in July.

Nigeria has agreed to stop boosting its output once it reaches a steady daily average of 1.8 million bpd, so if the Platts figure is confirmed by external sources in the OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report, the West African producer may move to cap its output. Libya, however, has announced no plans to limit production growth for the time being.

Platts also noted that if the figures, based on tanker tracking data, are true, then OPEC’s output last month had jumped to 920,000 bpd above the nominal production ceiling of 31.9 million bpd the cartel set itself last year. The figures include new member Equatorial Guinea and exclude Indonesia, which left OPEC when it agreed to start cutting production. Related: Is The EIA Exaggerating U.S. Oil Production?

An earlier forecast from Reuters saw OPEC July oil output 90,000 bpd higher than in June, again thanks to higher Libyan production. Reuters, however, pegged Libya’s daily average at over 1 million barrels. Iraq also pumped more in July than in June, Reuters said.

Consultancy PetroLogistics also saw OPEC’s July output higher, by 145,000 bpd, to more than 33 million barrels daily. The figure was forecast to be over 600,000 bpd higher than the first-half OPEC average, the consultancy’s chief executive told Reuters.

The expected increase in the July production would mean that compliance with the cuts within the cartel is slipping, following the almost-perfect scores that OPEC boasted at the beginning of the output cut deal, which has since been extended into March next year.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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