OPEC has reported that oil output rose last December following a recovering production in Nigeria, despite an agreement by the wider OPEC+ alliance to cut production targets to support the market.
According to a Reuters survey made available last Wednesday, OPEC said it pumped 29.0 million barrels per day (bpd) last month. This figure was, according to the survey, up 120,000bpd from November.
OPEC output in September, the survey said, remains the highest since 2020.
The report was specific that December’s rise in oil output was led by recovering output in Nigeria, which has been battling for months and years with crude oil theft and insecurity as to its oil-producing region.
Following wings of security measures taken by the federal government of Nigeria, and the security agencies, the survey records that many Nigerian crude streams produced more in December.
Some of the sources spoken to in the survey said, said there had been improvement in security around oil and gas security infrastructure, which has led to improved crude oil exploration and production.
OPEC+ had been boosting output for most of 2022 as demand recovered. For November, with oil prices weakening, the group made its largest cut to production targets since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Its decision from November called for a 2 million bpd cut to the OPEC+ output target, of which about 1.27 million bpd was meant to come from the 10 participating OPEC countries. The same target applied in December.
Output is still undershooting targeted amounts because many producers – notably Nigeria and Angola – lack the capacity to pump at the agreed levels.
Nigeria, Africa’s topmost oil explorer, pumped 1.35 million bpd in December, up from 1.18 million bpd the previous month, the survey discovered
Nigeria’s finance and planning minister, Mrs. Ahmed Usman said Nigeria is aiming to lift output to 1.6 million bpd this quarter, in what would be a remarkable recovery if achieved.
OPEC’s Gulf producers complied relatively closely with their output targets under the OPEC+ agreement, the survey found.
Saudi Arabia curbed output slightly, as did Iraq, and there was little or no change from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Among Libya, Iran and Venezuela – the three producers exempt from OPEC cuts, only Venezuela’s output had shown any notable change, with some tanker trackers seeing lower exports.
By Bosco Agba