OPEC's crude oil output fell in August

9/10/2013

OPEC's crude oil output fell in August

BY BENOIT FAUCON

LONDON -- Saudi Arabia and Iraq have made up for some of the losses in Libyan production, ensuring markets remain well supplied, an OPEC report showed Tuesday.

In its monthly oil-market report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries--whose members supply over one in three barrels consumed in the world each day--said "the market at present remains well supplied" despite the North African disruptions.

The news came despite OPEC's production falling by 1.5%, or 486,000 barrels a day, in August, according to data based on direct communications from OPEC members. Data from secondary sources point to a drop of 0.4%, or 123,900 barrels a day.

Armed strikers have closed most Libyan terminals since the end of July and, according to the data submitted by Tripoli to OPEC, production fell by 52%, or 644,800 barrels a day, last month on average, according to the country's official data.

But Iraq--whose production increased by 235,000 barrels a day--and Saudi Arabia--up 156,200 barrels a day--compensated for half of those losses, the report shows.

Draws in European inventories and higher U.S. oil production also offered some relief. During the first half of 2013, U.S. crude oil production averaged 7.21 million barrels a day, "the highest level since the first half of 1992," OPEC said. While inventories in Europe's most industrialized countries fell by 2 million barrels, ending July at 876 million barrels, partly because of draws for previous Libyan disruptions.

OPEC also upgraded its global oil-demand growth forecast for this year by 25,000 barrels a day. Though that's only a fraction of the expected rise of 800,000 barrels a day for 2013, OPEC said the change reflected "positive signs of improvement" in industrialized economies, particularly in the U.S., UK and Germany.

Dow Jones Newswires

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