OPEC oil production continued to rise in August, despite the decline in Iranian production. The average of third party estimates that Energy Aspects collects pegs OPEC-12 output at 31.58 mb/d, higher m/m by 0.18 mb/d and y/y by 1.62 mb/d, despite Iranian production dropping by another 0.1 mb/d over the month. Iranian oil production, thus, totaled 2.81 mb/d, although anecdotal data suggests exports fell below 1 mb/d, which in turn implies that the third party estimates may be on the high side. However, with Iran managing to export up to 1.2 mb/d this month, according to Energy Aspects estimates, the m/m decline that began in September 2011 is likely to have reversed. Saudi production, while lower m/m by 0.08 mb/d in August, remained near 10 mb/d, although high domestic crude burn restricted exports.
The production increase over the month was led by Angola, as some delayed shipments from an incident at the Girassol field in July made their way into August. Meanwhile, Iraq's increasing production has persisted this month, reaching 3.13 mb/d. We expect Iraqi production to climb towards 3.4 mb/d by year end. Venezuelan and Nigerian oil production rose by 0.6 mb/d a piece to 2.4 mb/d and 2.24 mb/d respectively. Nigerian production climbed to its highest level in a year, although oil thefts continue to remain high in the country. Given the recent spate of pipeline leaks and other cases of force majeure, we expect Nigerian output to be lower in September. Meanwhile, Kuwait and UAE continue to pump close to their full production capacity, at 2.8 and 2.6 mb/d respectively.