LONDON, March 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Crude oil production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) climbed by 240,000 barrels per day (b/d) to 30.11 million b/d in February from 29.87 million b/d in January following a surge in Iraqi exports and despite new setbacks in Libya, a just-released Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials and analysts showed.
"These are the sorts of output numbers that not long ago, when combined with the rising production from North America, looked like they might weigh on the market and cause a fall in prices," said John Kingston, Platts global director of news. "In particular, the Iraq numbers are surprising, given that output there has been troubled in recent months. And yet, West Texas Intermediate crude is solidly above $100, Brent prices are up near $110, and world inventories have been drawing sharply. With all of this supply at the ready and prices greater than $100 per barrel, it might be time to review some of that conventional wisdom."
The February total is the highest since August 2013, when the Platts survey estimated output at 30.28 million b/d.
With the Basrah terminal in full operation and weather conditions good throughout the month, Iraq's southern export average of 2.5 million b/d was the highest rate since 1979.The 390,000 b/d increment from Iraq was boosted by smaller increases from Angola, Iran and Nigeria. However, Libyan output declined again as fluctuating levels of unrest forced the key Sharara field to close again and total output to fall from 600,000 b/d early in February to just 230,000 b/d late in the month. Having climbed to an average 530,000 b/d in January from 250,000 b/d in December, Libyan output fell back in February to average 360,000 b/d.