Platts Survey: OPEC Oil Output Falls in February, But Still Above Target



    LONDON, March 8 /CNW/ -- The 10 members of the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC) bound by the group's output agreements produced an
average 26.62 million barrels of crude oil per day in February, a Platts
survey showed March 8. This is down 330,000 barrels per day (b/d) from
January's 26.95 million b/d but still well above the group's new 25.8 million
b/d production target established last month.
    Total OPEC production, including that of Iraq and new member Angola,
averaged 30.18 million b/d, up 70,000 b/d from January, the survey showed.
Iraq is not bound by OPEC's output agreements and Angola has yet to be
assigned a production target.
    Among the OPEC-10, Nigeria was the only country not to reduce output.
Algeria, Libya, Qatar and the UAE each cut by 10,000 b/d. Indonesia and
Venezuela each reduced output by 20,000 b/d. Slightly bigger cuts of 50,000
b/d each came from Iran and Kuwait, while Saudi Arabia sliced 150,000 b/d off
January production to produce an average 8.6 million b/d in February.
    "OPEC's focus may soon begin to shift toward loosening its hold on
supplies toward the third quarter," suggests Platts Director of Oil John
Kingston, especially if oil prices stay strong. "With the price of benchmark
West Texas Intermediate firmly in the vicinity of $60, it's doubtful that OPEC
will seek to significantly tighten the screws on the market." Kingston says it
will be particularly interesting to see what Iraq and Angola produce over
time.
    Iraq, still struggling to rebuild its oil industry after years of UN
sanctions and the US-led invasion of 2003, boosted its output to just above 2
million b/d from 1.66 million b/d in January as exports recovered after
January disruption.
    Angola, which joined OPEC in January, has yet to be asked to limit its
oil output. According to survey data, the oil exporter boosted production to
1.55 million b/d in February from 1.5 million b/d in January.
    OPEC ministers agreed last October to remove 1.2 million b/d of crude
from world oil markets from November, saying supply was well in excess of
demand and setting a production target of 26.3 million b/d. In December, they
agreed to expand the cut by 500,000 b/d from February. The cuts were based on
estimated September production of 27.5 million b/d. The target, as of February
1, is 25.8 million b/d.

    The latest survey shows that the OPEC-10 have cut supply by more than 1
million b/d since September, when Platts estimates pegged production at 27.81
million b/d.

    
    Country      February   January    December   November   October      Cut
    Algeria         1.330     1.340       1.350      1.350     1.370    0.084
    Indonesia       0.840     0.860       0.860      0.860     0.860    0.055
    Iran            3.800     3.850       3.850      3.850     3.900    0.249
    Kuwait          2.410     2.460       2.460      2.460     2.530    0.142
    Libya           1.680     1.690       1.700      1.710     1.730    0.102
    Nigeria         2.250     2.250       2.230      2.230     2.300    0.142
    Qatar           0.790     0.800       0.800      0.800     0.830    0.050
    Saudi Arabia    8.600     8.750       8.790      8.800     9.070    0.538
    UAE             2.490     2.500       2.500      2.550     2.600    0.143
    Venezuela       2.430     2.450       2.460      2.460     2.540    0.195
    OPEC-10        26.620    26.950      27.000     27.070    27.730    1.700
    Angola          1.550     1.500         N/A        N/A       N/A
    Iraq            2.010     1.660       1.900      1.990     2.020
    Total          30.180    30.110      28.900     29.060    29.750

    About Platts:
    

    Platts, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE:   MHP), is a leading
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leaders depend upon Platts to help them make better trading and investment
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    About The McGraw-Hill Companies:
    
    Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE:   MHP) is a leading
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http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.





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