Opec output hits four-year high at 31.75m bpd

Opec output in April has hit its highest since 2008 as extra crude from Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Libya more than compensates for the lowest Iranian supply in two decades ahead of a European Union (EU) embargo, a Reuters survey found yesterday.

Supply from the 12-member Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) averaged 31.75 million barrels per day (bpd), up from a revised 31.32 million bpd in March, the survey of sources at oil companies, Opec officials and analysts found.

As well as cushioning the impact of the looming EU plan to embargo Iran's crude, the extra oil is filling gaps caused by an unusually large amount of supply outages globally.

"There's plenty of oil in the market," Paul Tossetti, an analyst at PFC Energy, said. "But there have been a lot of non-Opec outages, which have continued to tighten supplies."

Opec's total is the highest since September 2008, which was shortly before it agreed to a series of supply curbs to combat recession and collapsing demand, based on Reuters surveys.

In April, the biggest increase in Opec supply came from Iraq as a second new Gulf shipping outlet provided a boost to export capacity. Production topped 3 million bpd and rose by 230,000 bpd from the previous month.

Saudi Arabian supply edged up in April to 10 million bpd, the survey found. Some customers say the kingdom has been offering them extra crude.

Output continued to recover in Libya after being virtually shut down during the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi's rule. Supplies also rose from Opec's two West African members, Angola and Nigeria.

Drop in Iran supply

In Iran, output fell significantly in April for a second month, according to oil industry sources outside the country.

Supply declined to 3.15 million bpd in April, according to the survey. That would be the lowest output in Iran since it produced 3.088 million bpd in 1990, according to figures from the US Energy Information Administration.

In March, Iran's exports posted the first sizeable decline since the EU announced in January its plan to embargo Iran's crude and Washington and Brussels sanctioned Iran's central bank.

(Source: Gulf News)

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