OPEC oil output rose in August to its highest since the early days of the pandemic in 2020 as Libyan facilities recovered from unrest and Gulf members raised output to unwind a production cut deal with allies, a Reuters survey found on Wednesday.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has pumped 29.58 million barrels per day (bpd) this month, the survey found, up 690,000 bpd from July and the highest since April 2020, according to Reuters surveys.
OPEC and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, are unwinding output cuts made in 2020 as the pandemic took hold, though many are struggling to deliver the full volumes. Output has been undershooting OPEC+’s pledged hikes for months.
The last increment of the OPEC+ deal to unwind fully the 2020 cuts called for a 648,000 bpd increase in August from all OPEC+ members, including about 413,000 bpd from the 10 participating OPEC countries.
With many producers lacking the capacity to raise output due to insufficient oilfield investment, the 10 OPEC members managed a 300,000 bpd increase from July and are still pumping far less than called for, the survey found.
Output from the 10 members was 1.4 million bpd below the August target, versus a 1.3 million bpd shortfall in July.
OPEC+ meets on Monday and sources have said that potential production cuts mooted last week by Saudi Arabia may not be imminent and are likely to coincide with the return of more Iranian supply should it reach a nuclear deal.
Output in Libya, one of the members exempt from OPEC output agreements, posted the largest rise of 400,000 bpd as production recovered at the end of July from unrest, the survey found.
The second biggest, of 100,000 bpd, came from top exporter Saudi Arabia, although all but one of the sources in the survey assessed the kingdom’s output as below its 11 million bpd quota.
Nigerian output recovered by 50,000 bpd during August although it was pumping 646,000 bpd below its target, the group’s largest shortfall, according to the survey.
Iraq boosted output by 70,000 bpd as exports increased from the south, while Kuwait increased supply in line with its quota. The United Arab Emirates was the only OPEC member to deliver fully on the pledged output increase.
There were no significant declines in output during August, the survey found. Production in Iran and Venezuela, the other two exempt producers, was steady.
The Reuters survey aims to track supply to the market. It is based on shipping data provided by external sources, Refinitiv Eikon flows data, information from tanker trackers such as Petro-Logistics, and information provided by sources at oil companies, OPEC and consultants.