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Platts: OPEC oil production climbs to 31.27 million barrels per day in February

Thursday, Mar 08, 2012

Highest Output Volume Seen From 12 Producing Countries Since Autumn 2008

LONDON, March 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Crude oil output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) climbed by 400,000 barrels per day (b/d) to 31.27 million b/d in February from 30.87 million b/d in January, the highest volume from the 12 producing countries since the autumn of 2008, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials and analysts showed Wednesday.

Continuing recovery in Libyan production accounted for 250,000 b/d of the month-on-month increase. Smaller increments came from Angola, Kuwait, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

"What's fascinating about these numbers is that they are so much above what the International Energy Agency has said is necessary for OPEC to produce to keep inventories flat – what's known as the OPEC 'call,'" said John Kingston, Platts global director of oil. "For all of 2012, the call is 29.9 million b/d. Instead, OPEC is producing well over a million barrels per day above that, yet oil prices continue to climb."

Output dipped slightly in Iran, Iraq and the UAE.

"What you don't see in these OPEC numbers, however, are all the production drops in non-OPEC countries, admittedly small, but in places like Syria, South Sudan and Yemen. These are adding up and tightening the market," noted Kingston.

A European Union (EU) embargo on Iranian oil is due to come into force on July 1, giving refiners several months to seek alternative supplies. But non-EU countries which have been big buyers of Iranian crude have also shown interest in diversifying their supplies, partly from concern about similar U.S. sanctions.

The survey shows that the group overproduced its 30-million-b/d output ceiling by 1.27 million b/d. This output agreement established in December and does not set individual country quotas.

OPEC production has been steadily ramping up alongside climbing crude prices, which saw North Sea Brent crude oil last settle below the $100-per-barrel (/b) level on October 4 last year. The 2011 average close for front-month Brent price was $110.91/b.

North Sea Brent crude oil futures traded at $128.40/b on March 1. This is the highest traded price seen since July 23, 2008 – the same month which saw U.S. light crude futures prices trade at all-time highs of more than $147/b.

Collective production from OPEC's current 12 members averaged 31.41 million b/d in October 2008, down from 31.61 million b/d in September and from 31.93 million b/d in August that year.

For production numbers by country, click here. You may be prompted for a cost-free one-time-only log-in registration.

Platts OPEC and oil experts are available for media interviews; please consult Platts Media Center to schedule an interview. For other oil, energy and related information, visit www.platts.com.

About Platts: Founded in 1909, Platts is a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals and metals information and a premier source of benchmark prices for the physical and futures markets.  Platts' news, pricing, analytics, commentary and conferences help customers make better-informed trading and business decisions and help the markets operate with greater transparency and efficiency.  Customers in more than 150 countries benefit from Platts' coverage of the carbon emissions, coal, electricity, oil, natural gas, metals, nuclear power, petrochemical, and shipping markets.  A division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), Platts is headquartered in New York with approximately 900 employees in 15 offices worldwide. Additional information is available at http://www.platts.com.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies: McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two public companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.

SOURCE Platts

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