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Latest OPEC oil production figures

• Crude oil output from OPEC fell to 30.45mn b/d in June 2013, down from 30.57mn b/d in May, as lower volumes from Libya and Iraq more than offset an increase from top producer Saudi Arabia.

• ‘What’s notable about this month’s figures is not the Libyan decline, because that was known since the start of June, but the way the Saudis stepped right in to fill that gap.

• ‘The Saudi role as swing producer becomes more significant every month, as the kingdom puts oil into the market when it’s needed, and takes it out when it’s not. It has been particularly aggressive in this role in recent months.’

• Libyan production, which had recovered to around 1.4mn b/d in May, plunged by 200,000 b/d in June amid continuing political unrest that has included protests at key oil fields across the country. Libyan oil output had fallen below 1mn b/d because of the protests and other technical issues.

• In mid-June, there had been a ‘massive’ decline in production at some of Libya’s major fields, among them Elephant, Sharara, Sarir and Messla. Security personnel have been protesting since 2 June at the Elephant field, which is operated by a joint venture between NOC and Italy’s Eni, demanding improved pay and conditions.

• Reduced exports took Iraqi output down by around 100,000 b/d to 3mn b/d. The northern pipeline system, which carries crude to Ceyhan on the Turkish Mediterranean, has been subject to repeated attacks by insurgents.
• Exports from Ceyhan were suspended in mid-June. Other smaller dips in output came from Algeria, Angola and Nigeria. The 1.88mn b/d estimate for Nigeria was the lowest since September 2009, when production was pegged at 1.85mn b/d. Nigeria is subject to frequent sabotage of oil installations and pipelines and is also seeing the US export market shrink dramatically.

• Usan normally produces between 90,000 b/d and 110,000 b/d. OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia boosted output by 250,000 b/d to 9.65mn b/d, the highest volume since November 2012 when output was estimated at 9.82mn b/d. Saudi output typically climbs in summer to meet increased demand from domestic power stations for direct-burning crude. Saudi output was estimated at an average 10mn b/d during May, June, July and August 2012.

• There were smaller increases of 10,000 b/d each from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
The latest survey indicates OPEC is overproducing its official 30mn b/d ceiling, which has been in place since January 2012, by 450,000 b/d. Adherence to the ceiling, however, is informal as OPEC has not set individual country quotas. This effectively leaves the management of the market to Saudi Arabia, the only country with the ability to make significant adjustments to output.

• Meanwhile, according to OPEC’s latest monthly oil market report, the oil cartel expects demand for its crude to decline again, to 29.61mn b/d, in 2014, as rising oil supply from independent producers outpaces the predicted increase in global oil consumption.

• This represents a year-on-year drop of around 250,000 b/d after an anticipated fall of 420,000 b/d this year. The forecast call on OPEC crude for next year is well below current production, which OPEC states averaged 30.379mn b/d in June.