OPEC oil output near record high in April as Iran, Iraq growth offsets outages: Reuters survey
By Alex Lawler
LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC's oil output rose in April to close to the highest level in recent history, a Reuters survey found on Friday, as production increases led by Iran and Iraq more than offset a strike in Kuwait and other outages.
Top exporter Saudi Arabia, however, made no major change to output, the survey found, despite the kingdom hinting it could boost supply after OPEC and non-member nations failed to agree to freeze output at a meeting on April 17.
Oil LCOc1 has rebounded more than 75 percent from a 12-year low in January to reach $48 a barrel, helped by the freeze initiative and signs that lower prices are starting to curb higher-cost supply, despite high inventories and other persistent reminders of a glut.
"The market is massively oversupplied," said Eugen Weinberg, analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. "This rally doesn't have strong legs."
Supply from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries rose to 32.64 million barrels per day (bpd) this month, from 32.47 million bpd in March, according to the survey, based on shipping data and information from sources at oil companies, OPEC and consultants.
That almost matches January's 32.65 million bpd, when Indonesia's return as an OPEC member boosted production and output from the other 12 members was the highest in Reuters survey records, starting in 1997.
OPEC output has surged since it abandoned in 2014 its historic role of cutting supply to prop up prices, led by higher supply from Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Iran saw the sharpest increase in production in April after Western sanctions were lifted in January. Tehran, which wants to recover the market share it lost, has refused to limit its supply until it reaches pre-sanctions output. Continued...