OPEC oil data – September 2015

Published at 10:52 13 Oct 2015 by . Last edited 11:17 22 Aug 2019.

According to the third party estimates collected by Energy Aspects, OPEC production was broadly flat m/m at 31.52 mb/d in September, although y/y growth fell below 1 mb/d for the first time since February. Energy Aspects estimates registered a 90 thousand b/d increase m/m, to 31.56 mb/d, but similarly show the pace of y/y growth slowing. The cause of the divergence is once again Saudi production. Third party figures show a 0.1 mb/d m/m decline to 10.24 mb/d, while our estimates, based on official sources, have a smaller 30 thousand b/d decrease, to a similar 10.23 mb/d, as output had already started to ease in August as exports softened. But September saw the Kingdom drawdown inventories by around 30 thousand b/d, in contrast to the builds in August, partly as more Saudi crude is headed towards the US on a narrowing WTI-Brent spread. Elsewhere, overall Iraqi production rose m/m by 24 thousand b/d to 4.12 mb/d (EA: +60 thousand b/d to 4.12 mb/d), near July’s record levels. Kurdish production led the recovery, due to fewer disruptions to the export pipeline, while southern output remained flat m/m. We maintain our view Iraqi production will struggle to grow from here given sharp cuts to upstream investment, so we do not expect the 0.66 mb/d m/m increase in Basrah exports indicated by the October loading programme to materialise. As temperatures fall, domestic crude burn should ease, freeing up some volumes for export, but only in the order of 50-100 thousand b/d. Nigerian output also rose m/m, by 44 thousand b/d to 1.93 mb/d, the highest since February 2015. Shell lifted the brief force majeure on Bonny Light in early September and the 65 thousand b/d Erha North Phase 2 project started up mid-month. The widely reported tanker paperwork issues are not affecting production, while the Forcados force majeure placed at the end of September has also been lifted. Angolan output was also up m/m by 24 thousand b/d as planned maintenance eased. Finally, Iranian output dipped m/m by 18 thousand b/d due to weak export demand and natural decline rates.

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