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OPEC Crude Output Drops to Six-Month Low

Mohammed Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General

Crude production from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries dropped again in November to a six-month low.

Total production fell 80,000 barrels a day to 32.47 million a day last month, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts, oil companies and ship-tracking data. That was the lowest level since May, when output was 32.29 million.

Angola led the declines in November, with a drop of 100,000 barrels a day from October. The International Energy Agency — which tracks production from OPEC members — warned last month that field maintenance would probably affect production in the African nation. Loading programs for November show sharp dips in exports from the country’s Saturno and Girassol grades, while both were set to recover in December.

OPEC and some non-members including Russia decided on Nov. 30 to extend their deal to curb production until the end of next year, seeking to complete the market rebalancing by bringing down global oil inventories to the five-year average.

The 12 OPEC members who agreed to curb their supply implemented 118 percent of their pledged cuts in November, compared with 110 percent the month before, the survey showed. Nigeria and Libya are exempt from making cuts, although they will be included in the efforts to rein in production from January following last week’s OPEC agreement.

Output from Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer within OPEC, dropped 40,000 barrels a day to 9.97 million a day over the month. Venezuela’s crude production came in at 1.86 million barrels a day, unchanged from a revised October level. Output in the Latin American country, which has the largest crude reserves in the world, is in long-term decline as its state-owned oil company faces a cash crunch and billions of dollars of debt repayments.

Last week, Manuel Quevedo, the newly-appointed oil minister and president of Petroleos de Venezuela SA, vowed that the oil company would continue to honor its foreign debt commitments.

Output in Iraq, the second-biggest producer within OPEC, recovered by 40,000 barrels a day to 4.39 million a day, as some disruptions were resolved in Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region in the north. Last week, Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaibi said reduced exports from the north would be compensated by higher shipments from the south.

www.bloomberg.com

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