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OPEC Raises Oil Production To Highest Since April 2020

OPEC has been pumping in August the highest volume of crude oil since April 2020, after the OPEC+ alliance agreed to ease the production cuts by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) every month beginning in August, the monthly Reuters survey showed on Tuesday.

The 13-member-strong OPEC group has been producing 26.93 million bpd in August, an increase of 210,000 bpd compared to the estimated output in July, according to the Reuters survey of OPEC sources, sources at oil firms and consultants, and tanker-tracking data.

Although OPEC continued to raise its oil production, the gain in August over July was lower than anticipated because of production and export outages in some member states.  

The rise in OPEC’s oil production comes after the OPEC+ group decided on July 18 that it would start returning 400,000 bpd to the market every month beginning in August until it unwinds all the 5.8 million bpd cuts. The group agreed to extend the existing deal from April 2020 through the end of December 2022.

The 10 OPEC members bound by the pact share 253,000 bpd of the 400,000-bpd monthly increase in OPEC+ production, according to OPEC numbers seen by Reuters.

So, in August, the biggest producers of OPEC in the Gulf raised their oil production. Top producer Saudi Arabia added 180,000 bpd of supply, as per the Reuters survey. This was the biggest increase among OPEC members. OPEC’s no.2 Iraq boosted exports, while the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—the holdout in the OPEC+ talks in July—raised its production by 40,000 bpd in line with its quota for August.

Outages in Nigeria and Libya, however, limited OPEC’s supply to the market, according to the survey. Shell declared in mid-August force majeure on Forcados exports from Nigeria, which saw the largest decline in supply, 100,000 bpd. Libya, exempted from the OPEC+ cuts, also saw lower production in August due to a pipeline leak early in the month.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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