Platts: Supply-side issues addressed at OPEC

Aug. 3 (UPI) — Two-year highs for oil production from Saudi Arabia and other OPEC producers more than offset declines from Iran, Libya and Venezuela, Platts reported Friday.

According to data and sentiment gathered from analysts, industry officials and shipping data, S&P Global Platts determined members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries combined for an average of 32.66 million barrels of oil per day last month, an increase of 1 percent from June.

Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in OPEC and its de facto leader, produced 10.63 million bpd on average last month, its highest level since August 2016.

The gains follow industry concerns about chronic and expected shortages from key OPEC members Iran, Libya and Venezuela. In addition, crude oil prices have been supported by a lack of spare capacity, the amount of oil a producer can put on the market on short notice.

According to Platts, production from Iran last month averaged 3.72 million bpd, its lowest level in a year and a half. U.S. sanctions in Iran hit its oil sector in November and some European customers are already backing away.

Libya’s production average of 670,000 bpd in June was its lowest since April 2017 as one of Africa’s largest producers struggles with national security issues in the western oil belt. Venezuela, meanwhile, is coping with what the International Monetary Fund said was a “profound” economic crisis and aging infrastructure, pushing oil production to the lowest level since Platts started keeping track 30 years ago.

Outside of Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates produced the most oil since December 2016, the month before OPEC and a handful of non-member states, including Russia, agreed to curtail production to balance an oversupplied market.

“Those gains were more than enough to offset output declines in sanctions-hit Iran, crisis-wracked Venezuela and conflict-torn Libya,” the report from Platts read.

OPEC members in June agreed to relax compliance with a multilateral production deal to address concerns about the lack of supplies from Iran, Libya and Venezuela. Platts said parties to the OPEC-led production arrangement by July pushed compliance down to 105 percent.

For the United States, higher oil prices means higher consumer fuel prices in the world’s leading economy. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said following an early July phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump that both sides agreed that extraordinary efforts were needed to maintain oil market stability.

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