OPEC oil output rises in January as key members stand firm: survey
By Alex Lawler
LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC's oil supply has risen this month due to more Angolan exports and steady to higher output in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers, a Reuters survey showed, a sign key members are standing firm in refusing to prop up prices.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at a November meeting decided to focus on market share rather than cutting output, despite concerns from members such as Iran and Venezuela about falling oil revenue.
Supply from OPEC has averaged 30.37 million barrels per day (bpd) in January, up from a revised 30.24 million bpd in December, according to the survey based on shipping data and information from sources at oil companies, OPEC and consultants.
At the Nov. 27 meeting, OPEC retained its output target of 30 million bpd, sending oil prices to a four-year low close to $71 a barrel. Crude since fell to a near six-year low of $45.19 on Jan. 13 and was trading above $49 on Friday.
OPEC Secretary General Abdulla al-Badri, speaking in London on Monday, defended the no-cut strategy and said prices may have reached a floor, despite oversupply. Other OPEC delegates have since echoed this message.
"Prices are stabilizing," said a delegate from a Gulf producer. "But the world economy is not very strong and stocks are too high."
The largest boost this month has come from Angola, which pumped 1.80 million bpd and exported about 57 cargoes, up 160,000 bpd from December. Output would have been higher without some cargo delays, including of new crude Sangos.
OPEC's other West African producer, Nigeria, also managed to boost exports, the survey showed, although the increase was restrained by outages of the Forcados and Nembe Creek pipelines. Continued...