London – Crude oil production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) rose 150,000 barrels per day (b/d) to 29.87 million b/d in January from 29.72 million b/d in December as an increase of 280,000 b/d in still-beleaguered Libyan production more than offset drops in Angola, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, a just-released Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials and analysts showed Monday.
“The Libyan situation has a long way to go to play out but this is clearly good news,” said John Kingston, Platts global director of news. “Steady increases in Libyan output will help the country recover and will help bring stability to a market that is getting hit by various outages around the world.”
Libyan production climbed to 530,000 b/d in January from 250,000 b/d in December after the restart of production at the 340,000 b/d-capacity Sharara field at the beginning of the month.
Production from Sharara has since been cut by 40% after an armed group, at the beginning of February, forced the partial closure of a pipeline linking it with the Zawiya terminal and refinery.
Libyan production has been disrupted intermittently by strikes and protests since late May last year. Earlier in 2013, output had recovered to around 1.4 million b/d from virtually zero in 2011 during the uprising against former Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi.
Operated by Akakus, a joint venture between Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corporation and Spain’s Repsol, Sharara is one of Libya’s major onshore oil fields and feeds the 230,000 b/d Zawiya crude export terminal, the country’s second-largest.
There were also small production increases totalling 70,000 b/d from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Nigeria and Iran, the survey showed.
Angola accounted for the biggest single drop in production during January, output falling by 100,000 b/d to average 1.62 million b/d alongside lower export volumes of several key grades.
OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia shaved output by 40,000 b/d to average 9.76 million b/d in January compared with 9.8 million b/d in December.
Iraqi output fell back below 3 million b/d as southern exports fell.
The oil producer group has an official crude output ceiling of 30 million b/d, in place since January 2012 and most recently rolled over in December. There are no individual country quotas. The last time OPEC output exceeded the ceiling was in August last year when it averaged 30.28 million b/d.