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OPEC output drops to lowest in a year on Saudi cuts

Iraq's Minister of Oil and President of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) conference, Abdul-Kareem Luaibi Bahedh (2R) and OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri. (AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEIN)

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped at the lowest level in a year in December on reduced output from Saudi Arabia and Iraq, its two largest producers, the International Energy Agency said.

Production from OPEC’s 12 members, which together supply about 40 percent of the world’s oil, fell to 30.64 million barrels a day in December, from 30.9 million the previous month, the Paris-based IEA said. Output exceeded the group’s quota target of 30 million barrels a day.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, reduced production to 9.36 million barrels a day last month, from 9.65 million in November, the agency said Friday in its monthly Oil Market Report.

The kingdom’s output was “down 600,000 barrels a day from October’s lofty 9.95 million barrels a day, when crude exports surged to China,” it said. “The downturn in production reflects a myriad of fundamental developments, not least of which is the country’s sharply lower seasonal domestic demand.”

Supply from Iraq, the group’s second-largest producer, fell for the first time in five months, the agency said. It pumped 2.97 million barrels a day, 7 percent less than in November. Iraq’s output remained higher than Iran’s for a seventh month.

Nigeria’s monthly output increased to 2.1 million barrels a day from November’s 1.88 million. Production in the country rebounded after the end of the rainy season, which had caused the worst flooding in about 50 years, the IEA said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 19, 2013, on page 4.

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