Oganisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) crude production fell by 310,000 barrels a day in December, as unplanned disruptions in Nigeria reduced the group’s supply before deliberate cuts take effect this month.
Nigeria’s daily output dropped by 200,000 barrels to 1.45 million in December, ending three months of gains as the African nation struggled to restore capacity after a year of militant attacks on oil infrastructure. Saudi Arabia’s production fell by 50,000 barrels a day while Venezuela declined by 40,000.
“Crude oil production in Nigeria in December was once again severely impacted, mostly due to a field maintenance as well as a strike of port workers,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at London-based consultant Energy Aspects Limited, said by e-mail.
The decline in December comes as OPEC, which controls around 40 percent of global supply, is planning to curb output in a bid to boost oil prices. The organisation reached a historic deal last month with Russia and other non-members to cut global production by almost 1.8 million barrels a day starting from this month.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, advanced 52 per cent last year, the biggest annual gain since 2009. Prices were down 0.3 per cent at $56.31 a barrel as of 6:39a.m. London.
Overall, the OPEC excluding Indonesia which suspended its membership on November 30 — pumped 33.1 million barrels a day in December, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts, oil companies and ship-tracking data.
That compares with a November total of 33.41 million barrels a day for the 13 continuing members of the group, or 34.14 million including Indonesia’s daily output of 730,000 barrels.
Under the terms of last month’s agreement, OPEC’s total output, including Indonesia, would fall to 32.5 million barrels a day. Compliance with that target would be judged against independent estimates compiled by OPEC, which can vary from the survey.
In Nigeria – which along with Libya is exempted from making cuts because of conflict – maintenance on the Erha field and strike by workers at Exxon Mobil Corp.’s operations in the country disrupted both exports and production, Sen said.
A year ago, the country was pumping almost two million barrels a day.
No cargoes of the Agbami crude grade were shipped in first half of December, while three out of the four Erha cargoes originally scheduled to load were deferred, with two of those moved into January, according to loading programmes obtained by Bloomberg.
Iran, Kuwait and Angola each reduced output by 20,000 barrels a day while Algeria and Iraq dropped by 10,000, the survey showed.
Libya pumped an extra 50,000 barrels a day last month as the Northern African nation reopened two of its biggest oil fields and loaded the first cargo in two years from its largest export terminal.