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OPEC increases oil production in March; U.S. shale dropping

Higher oil production output in Saudi Arabia and Iraq led to a surge in March.

By Andrew V. Pestano

VIENNA, April 16 (UPI) -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will continue increasing output of oil, despite an oversupply, projecting an increased demand 80,000 barrels per day higher for this year than anticipated.

For the month of March, OPEC produced an average of about 30.79 million barrels per day -- an increase of 810,000 thousand bpd.

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"Crude oil output increased mostly from Saudi Arabia and Iraq, while Libya saw a return of about 165 [thousand barrels per day] from shut-in wells in active oil fields," OPEC states in its monthly oil market report.

Non-OPEC oil supply is expected to grow by 680,000 barrels per day, up from the previous month. The organization projects U.S. shale oil and Canadian oil sands output is expected to see lower growth due to declining rig counts.

The demand of oil in Iraq has continued to decline, shrinking by about 16 percent from the previous year. Saudi Arabian demand increased by about eight percent since last year due in part to increased use of jet fuel, gasoline and gasoil.

"Almost two thirds of 2015 oil demand growth is seen coming from China, [Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand] and the Middle East," according to the report.

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The world economic growth forecast for 2015 remains at 3.4 percent. The eurozone is forecast to grow an additional 1.3 percent higher than previously expected, while Japan's estimated growth has been lowered by 0.8 percent.

India's economy is forecast to grow by 7 percent.

In the supply and demand balance, required OPEC crude oil is estimated at 29.3 million barrels per day in 2015.

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