OPEC oil production drops to 10-month low on UAE, Venezuela

By Angelina Rascouet and Wael Mahdi on 3/1/2018

LONDON and KUWAIT (Bloomberg) -- Crude production from OPEC countries fell to a 10-month low in February, mainly due to maintenance at a field in the United Arab Emirates and continued output declines in Venezuela.

The  Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia have defied the skeptics by going deeper than their pledged cuts and maintaining them for long enough to deplete bloated inventories and boost prices. While the group says it’s committed to the deal for the remainder of the year, it’s also contending with a record-breaking surge in U.S. output that could undermine its efforts.

Output from the 14 members of OPEC fell 80,000 bpd to 32.28 MMbpd in February, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts, oil companies and ship-tracking data. That’s the lowest since 31.89 million in April.

Venezuela’s output dropped by 30,000 bpd to 1.68 MMbbl. The Latin American nation is a big part of the reason for OPEC’s stellar implementation of promises to curb production. Its industry is suffering from a lack of investment and  looming U.S. sanctions, sending output last year to the lowest since the 1980s.

Oil production in the UAE fell last month due to maintenance at fields that produce the Das Blend, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The survey found the Persian Gulf country pumped 2.8 MMbpd, a drop of 50,000 a day from January.

Production in Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer, fell 80,000 bpd to 9.88 MMbbl, the survey found. Libya’s output rose 70,000 barrels a day to 1.05 million, the highest since 2013.

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