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OPEC Raised Oil Production In September But Remained Below Target

OPEC raised its crude oil production by 146,000 barrels per day (bpd) in September compared to August, but the ten OPEC members in the OPEC+ pact still had their total output well below the target level under the agreement.  

OPEC’s oil production rose to 29.767 million bpd last month, according to secondary sources in the cartel’s closely watched Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) published on Wednesday.

That’s the highest OPEC production level since April 2020, when OPEC’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC Russia briefly broke the OPEC+ pact and engaged in a price war as demand was crashing with the start of the lockdowns during the pandemic.

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In September 2022, crude oil output increased mainly in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Libya, and the UAE, while production in Iraq, Venezuela, and Iran declined, OPEC said in its report.

Libya has recovered most of the oil production lost to port blockades in the previous months, but the North African producer is exempted from the OPEC+ cuts and targets due to the frequent instability at oil terminals.  

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Despite the fact that Nigeria boosted its oil production by 31,000 bpd in September, it is massively lagging behind its quota, and its oil production is at the lowest level in at least three decades.

According to OPEC’s secondary sources, Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s top producer, pumped 10.991 million bpd last month, up by 82,000 bpd from August, and around 40,000 bpd shy of its September target of 11.030 million bpd. The Saudis self-reported production of 11.041 million bpd for September.

Despite the rise in production last month, OPEC and the wider OPEC+ group that includes Russia are still estimated to be around 3.6 million bpd below the collective target.  

Last week, OPEC+ announced the biggest cut to its target since 2020. Despite the headline number of a cut of 2 million bpd, the actual reduction from current OPEC+ oil production would be half that figure, at around 1 million bpd-1.1 million bpd. That’s because many producers haven’t been able to produce to their quotas for months.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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