April 10, 2013
– Crude oil production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) fell to 30.25 million barrels per day (b/d) in March from 30.42 million b/d in February, a decrease of 170,000 b/d, as Iraqi and Nigerian volumes dropped, according to a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials and analysts released Wednesday.
"It's possible that some of the individual country declines could be attributed to reacting to weaker demand, but that's mostly been the role of
, Platts global director of news. "Instead, when one examines the declines from
, it raises the question whether there are only two countries that can really combat these declines:
the United States
, given its rising output."
, whose exports from the south plunged because of rough weather in the northern Gulf, fell to approximately three million b/d from 3.1 million last month, the survey showed.
Nigerian production fell by 80,000 b/d to 1.98 million b/d in March, following Shell's two-week force majeure on loadings of
after a rupture on the 150,000 b/d Nembe Creek Trunkline. The rupture followed a spate of oil theft activities and Shell said last week it would shut down the line in April "to remove crude theft points in continuation of efforts to ensure the integrity of the facility."
also faces a resumption of militant strikes against on oil facilities by the country's top armed group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, after a former leader was found guilty of terrorist attacks.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which estimated Nigerian output at 1.95 million b/d in March, said it had lowered its expectations for 2013 oil production in
, given the oil theft and pipeline vandalism which had escalated in 4Q 2012 and continued to curb output this year.
accounted for the bulk of the 240,000 b/d in output decreases during March. Smaller declines came from
, where there was a 30-day production shutdown in the offshore portion of the neutral zone shared with
. These reductions were partly offset by an incremental increase in
United Arab Emirates
production of 70,000 b/d.
The Platts survey results showed output from OPEC kingpin
at 9.2 million b/d in March, unchanged from February.
Output from sanctions-strapped
, at 2.7 million b/d, was also unchanged.
The March survey results indicate OPEC is overproducing its 30 million barrel-per-day production ceiling, in place since January last year, by about 250,000 b/d.