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OPEC: Venezuelan, Iranian oil production down, Saudi, UAE output up

By Renzo Pipoli
OPEC: Venezuelan, Iranian oil production down, Saudi, UAE output up
Crude oil production in Iran and Venezuela fell in October from September, but the combined drop was more than offset by higher production in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, OPEC reported on Tuesday. Photo by Armbrusterbiz/Pixabay

Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Venezuelan and Iranian oil production fell in October from September, resulting in a combined decrease of about 196,000 barrels per day, but higher output just in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia was 269,000 barrels per day more than in September, OPEC reported Tuesday.

According to OPEC's November report, which cites secondary sources, crude oil production in Iran in October fell 156,000 barrels per day from September to just under 3.3 million barrels, while production in Venezuela dropped 40,000 barrels per day to 1.17 million barrels per day.

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The United Arab Emirates, however, led gains among OPEC members with a 142,000 barrels per day increase to 3.16 million barrels per day, while Saudi Arabia increased monthly output by 127,000 barrels per day to 10.6 million barrels per day.

Venezuela's production has declined sharply from levels that averaged 2.2 million barrels per day in 2016, and 1.9 million barrels per day in 2017.

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The total production by 15 OPEC countries listed was 32.9 million barrels per day in October, a 127,000 barrels-per-day net increase.

Unlike previous months, the OPEC did not report any officially communicated production for Venezuela or Iran during October.

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The officially communicated production monthly increase by authorities in Saudi Arabia was higher, at 141,000 barrels per day, to 10.6 million barrels per day. The increase reported directly by UAE authorities was also higher, at 220,000 barrels per day to nearly 3.3 million barrels per day in October.

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As for oil production including OPEC and non-OPEC countries, OPEC estimated the total global oil supply at 99.76 million barrels per day, equivalent to a 440,000-barrels-per-day increase from the previous month.

"This equates to a total increase in global oil supply output of 2.67 million barrels per day, year-on-year," OPEC said.

Production in Venezuela, the country that has the biggest oil reserves in the world, has seen steady declines since the 1990s. October's production, however, is the lowest monthly production in that period, with the exception of a few months when workers of the state oil company PDVSA held a strike in late 2002 and early 2003, that nearly brought production to a halt.

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The Venezuelan production fell as the number of active rigs dropped from 70 in the first quarter of 2016 to an average of 43 in the last quarter of 2017, according to a March report by the Energy Information Administration that anticipated the declines.

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The EIA cited the main causes for the decline as mismanagement that included "missed payments to service companies, a lack of working upgraders, a lack of knowledgeable managers and workers, and declines in oil industry capital expenditures."

As for Iran, production rose in 2017 to 3.8 million barrels per day compared with 3.5 million barrels per day in the previous year. It was still at 3.8 million barrels per day in the first and second quarter but then dropped to 3.6 million barrels per day in the third quarter.

Iranian production, according to secondary sources, then accelerated declines from 3.6 million barrels per day in August to 3.5 million barrels per day in September, reaching 3.3 million barrels per day in October.

The declines in production in Iran occurred as the United States announced nuclear-related sanctions against the country in May that went into effect on Nov. 5. The sanctions aimed to prevent the country from continuing its oil exports to cut the country's revenue.

On Nov. 5, the U.S. said it had granted temporary waivers to eight countries so that they could continue to buy Iranian oil, including major purchasers China, India and South Korea.

As for Saudi Arabia, it said in October that it had increased production to help compensate for any supply reduction that could result from the U.S. sanctions against Iran.

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