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OPEC+ Oil Output Books Steepest Decline Since July

Oil production by the members of the OPEC+ group fell by the most in six months in January, an S&P Global Platts survey has shown.

Cuts agreed last year and field outages in Libya contributed to a combined 340,000-bpd monthly decline in OPEC+ production, the survey revealed, with the total at 41.21 million barrels daily. Of this, OPEC output stood at 26.49 million barrels daily and its partners’ output stood at 14.72 million barrels daily.

The Platts figures confirm a Reuters survey from the end of January, which also found that OPEC+ production for the month had fallen by the most since July last year. That survey, however, pegged the decline in production at 410,000 bpd compared with December.

In December, the extended cartel’s output actually increased, earlier surveys showed, but it seems that this year members have decided to take their reduction pledges more seriously. Some, however, posted higher production, including Saudi Arabia, where survey figures showed an increase of 40,000 bpd in January from December.

Libya, however, did not reduce its production voluntarily in January. In its case, the output decline was the result of field blockades by protesters who demanded a change in social policies. The blockades affected Libya’s largest field, El Sharara, which can produce up to 300,000 barrels of crude daily.

Meanwhile, a month earlier, Angola left OPEC because it was unwilling to surrender any more of its output. On the contrary, the West African producer has been itching to start boosting its production, which was incompatible with the OPEC goals for this year.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, suspended work on its oil production capacity expansion plan. Said plan was supposed to boost its maximum sustainable capacity from 12 million barrels daily to 13 million bpd in three years. The order for the suspension came earlier this month from the Saudi government.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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