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OPEC Reports Decline in March Oil Output; Iraq and Nigeria Lead Reduction

Last month, OPEC’s oil output experienced a decrease, as reported by a recent survey conducted by Reuters. This dip was primarily driven by reduced exports from major producers, notably Iraq and Nigeria. The decline comes amidst ongoing efforts by some OPEC+ members to voluntarily curb supply, aligning with the broader goals of the alliance.

According to the survey, OPEC collectively pumped 26.42 million barrels per day (bpd) in March, marking a modest 50,000 bpd reduction compared to February. Several members within the OPEC+ coalition initiated fresh cuts in January, in response to economic challenges and increased supply from non-OPEC sources. These measures were subsequently extended until the end of June during a recent agreement among producers.

Iraq and Nigeria were prominent in driving the reduction in output for March. Iraq, acknowledging its exceeding of OPEC targets, pledged to lower exports, resulting in a 130,000 bpd cut in shipments from February. While a 50,000 bpd reduction was achieved in March, further adjustments are deemed necessary to fulfill this commitment in the upcoming months.

Similarly, Nigerian production witnessed a decline, with exports notably dropping as the Dangote refinery increased its intake of cargoes. Despite these efforts, OPEC fell approximately 190,000 bpd short of its targeted cuts in March, primarily due to overproduction by Iraq, Nigeria, and Gabon.

On the other hand, Gulf producers such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates maintained output close to their voluntary targets, as did Algeria. Meanwhile, Iran, exempt from production quotas, witnessed a slight decrease in output, remaining near a five-year high achieved in November, despite ongoing U.S. sanctions.

Notably, the survey did not indicate any significant rise in output from any OPEC member last month. Libya, also exempt from production quotas, saw a modest increase of 20,000 bpd as its output returned to normal levels following disruptions in February.

Looking ahead, an upcoming meeting of key ministers within the OPEC+ coalition is scheduled for Wednesday to review market conditions and member states’ production levels. However, no significant policy changes are anticipated ahead of the group’s next full meeting on June 1.

photo source: Google

By: Montel Kamau

Serrari Financial Analyst

2nd April, 2024

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