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OPEC Sees Production Rise In December Despite Cut Pledges

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries produced more crude oil in December than it had in November, according to the group’s latest edition of its highly anticipated Monthly Oil Market Report.

For December, the group produced 26.7 million barrels of crude oil per day, up from 26.628 million barrels of crude oil per day the month prior. The output hike was primarily due to increased output from Nigeria, which saw its production rise from 1.319 million bpd to 1.418 million bpd, according to OPEC’s secondary sources. Iraq also saw its production increase from 4.269 million bpd to 4.292 million bpd.

Other OPEC members saw their output drop, including Saudi Arabia (-12,000 bpd), Kuwait (-23,000 bpd), Iran (-11,000 bpd) and others.

OPEC may be battling internally its members’ compliance to its own production cuts, but it also must battle outside forces, including U.S. crude oil production, which rose by nearly 1 million bpd in 2023, according to OPEC’s latest estimates shared on Wednesday. According to OPEC, U.S. production is estimated to have reached 12.89 million bpd last year—up .98 million bpd from the year prior. OPEC sees U.S. crude oil rising even further this year, to 13.23 million bpd, and to 13.61 million bpd in 2025. This is close to the EIA’s projections, which call for 2024 production of 13.21 million bpd. Meanwhile, Chinese demand growth for crude oil is slowing, CEO of commodities trader Mercuria Energy group said on Wednesday.

According to Mercuria, OPEC could need to cut production even further than it already has in order to keep prices at current levels.

Brent crude oil is trading at $77.11 per barrel as of 1:00 pm ET—down from $79.80 per barrel this same time last year.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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