New York – The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries reduced its September oil output to the lowest level in more than two years, according to a monthly report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
OPEC production fell to 29.7 million barrels a day in September, the lowest level since June 2011.
The decline came as output in Libya fell another 36% from the prior month to 380,000 barrels a day as strikes at the country’s oil export terminals led to a steep decline in production.
The EIA estimated that global liquid fuels supply disruptions in September averaged three million barrels a day, a figure unchanged from its revised August estimate, though it remains at the highest level since at least January 2011.
However, the EIA said “some of Libya’s production restarted in the second half of September after coming to a near-halt earlier in the month,” adding that it projects the country’s production to “remain at its current level for October, although output still remains considerably below the pre-crisis level.”
Last week, Libya said its crude output had risen to roughly 700,00 barrels per day, though it remains far below the 1.4 million barrels per day it posted back in May.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia lowered its own production slightly to 10.1 million barrels a day, while Iraq reduced its output by 14% month-to-month, the EIA, said. The two countries had boosted production recently to offset those losses.
The EIA said OPEC spare capacity was 1.68 million barrels per day in September, up from 1.58 million barrels per day in the prior month but well below levels posted last spring.
Oil futures have been under pressure recently, finishing lower in three of the past four weeks as tensions in the Middle East have cooled. Investors had bid up prices in late August, betting that a military strike against Syria could lead to supply disruptions in the crude-rich Middle East, but that option appears off the table in the near term.
Prices, though, were higher Tuesday as traders bet that U.S. lawmakers soon would reach an agreement to end the partial U.S. government shutdown that could threaten crude demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.