Markets: “OPEC Production Drops To Lowest Since March 2015” – Platts Survey

OPEC’s crude oil production plummeted by nearly 1 million bpd from December to 30.86 million bpd in January, marking the lowest production for the cartel since March 2015, as Saudi Arabia over-delivered and members exempted from the reduction pact saw their output further drop, according to the S&P Global Platts survey.

OPEC’s production fell by 970,000 bpd from December to January—the month in which the new production cuts took effect, with Libya, Venezuela, and Iran exempted. The monthly drop in the cartel’s crude output was the steepest since December 2016—the month just before the previous round of cuts began, the Platts survey of shipping data, industry officials, and analysts showed.

Saudi Arabia’s oil production in January stood at 10.21 million bpd, or 100,000 bpd below its pledged ceiling of 10.311 million bpd, and the lowest Saudi production since May 2018, according to the Platts survey.

The crude oil exports of OPEC’s largest producer and de facto leader fell by 500,000 bpd to 7.20 million bpd in January, Platts trade flow data showed.

Among the members exempted from the cuts, Libya’s production plunged by 120,000 bpd to 850,000 bpd as its largest oil field Sharara has been shut in since early December due to security risks and concerns. Iran, under U.S. sanctions, saw its production drop by another 80,000 bpd to 2.72 million bpd, while Venezuela’s output fell 10,000 bpd to 1.16 million bpd. Sources at PDVSA have told Platts that as of this month Venezuela’s production is expected to plunge because under the new U.S. sanctions, Venezuela will not be able to import U.S. naphtha to dilute its heavy crude grades.

The Platts survey showed a steeper decline in OPEC’s production than the Reuters survey from last week.

OPEC’s crude oil production in January dropped by a massive 890,000 bpd compared to December—the largest monthly decline in the cartel’s production since January 2017 when the initial production cut deal began, according to the monthly Reuters survey.

According to the survey tracking supply to the market and based on shipping data and information provided by sources at oil companies, OPEC’s crude oil production in January was 30.98 million bpd, down by 890,000 bpd from December 2018.

OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) with production data for January is scheduled to be released next Tuesday, February 12.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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