Opec+ crude output above target again

  • Market: Crude oil
  • 09/04/24

Opec+ crude output was once again above target in March as serial overproducers Iraq and Kazakhstan continued to exceed their pledges. Kuwait and Gabon were last month's other notable overproducers.

March production from members subject to targets rose by 70,000 b/d to 34.59mn b/d, Argus estimates, leaving the alliance 270,000 b/d above its goal. The gap would have been wider were it not for a war-related decline in output from non-Opec members Sudan and South Sudan.

Opec+ has been cutting production since November 2022 in a self-described attempt to support and balance the oil market. A new round of "voluntary" reductions by several members came into force in January this year and is set to run until the end of June.

The group is not relaxing its stance on production discipline, despite front-month Ice Brent crude futures recently moving above $90/bl for the first time in around six months. Earlier this month, the coalition's Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee said members that overshot targets in the first quarter of this year will submit plans to compensate.

The nine Opec members bound by targets were 400,000 b/d above their combined production pledge in March, while the nine non-Opec members of the alliance were 130,000 b/d below.

Iraq reduced output by 50,000 b/d in March after burning less crude for power generation, but it was still 180,000 b/d over its 4mn b/d target. To allay concerns, Baghdad last month pledged to drive its crude exports down to 3.3mn b/d, although state-owned marketer Somo reported exports of 3.42mn b/d for March.

Like Iraq, Kazakhstan has vowed to comply with its pledges and compensate for overproduction in January and February, but it made no progress last month — output was unchanged at 1.59mn b/d, which was 120,000 b/d above target.

Wide of the mark

Others that overshot the mark last month include Kuwait, where production rose by 40,000 b/d to 2.51mn b/d, leaving the country 100,000 b/d above its pledge. Kuwait overproduced by around 70,000 b/d on average in the first quarter. Fellow Opec member Gabon exceed its March quota by 80,000 b/d after boosting output by 20,000 b/d to 250,000 b/d. Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have shouldered much of the burden of the group's collective cuts over the past 16 months, were slightly above target last month too, after increasing output by a respective 30,000 b/d and 20,000 b/d.

Russian crude production rose by 30,000 b/d to 9.44mn b/d, just 10,000 b/d shy of its target. Drone attacks have damaged more than 800,000 b/d of Russian refining capacity in recent months, freeing up more crude for export — shipments hit an 11-month high in March.

Fellow non-Opec producers Sudan and South Sudan were both 40,000 b/d below their quotas last month as the impact of Sudan's ongoing civil war began to be felt. South Sudan, which is entirely reliant on its northern neighbour to get its oil to international markets, saw its production nearly halve to around 80,000 b/d because of a blocked pipeline.

Opec+ crude productionmn b/d
MarFeb*Mar target†± target
Opec 921.6221.4921.220.40
Non-Opec 912.9713.0313.10-0.13
Total Opec 1834.5934.5234.320.27
*revised †includes additional cuts where applicable
Opec wellhead productionmn b/d
MarFeb*Mar target†± target
Saudi Arabia9.008.978.980.02
Iraq4.184.234.000.18
Kuwait2.512.472.410.10
UAE2.952.932.910.04
Algeria0.920.910.910.01
Nigeria1.501.471.500.00
Congo (Brazzaville)0.250.230.28-0.03
Gabon0.250.230.170.08
Equatorial Guinea0.060.050.07-0.01
Opec 921.6221.4921.220.40
Iran3.283.27nana
Libya1.181.16nana
Venezuela0.850.88nana
Total Opec 12^26.9326.80nana
*revised †includes additional cuts where applicable
^Iran, Libya and Venezuela are exempt from production targets
Non-Opec crude productionmn b/d
MarFeb*Mar target†± target
Russia9.449.419.45-0.01
Oman0.760.760.760.00
Azerbaijan0.490.480.55-0.06
Kazakhstan1.591.591.470.12
Malaysia0.360.360.40-0.04
Bahrain0.150.150.20-0.05
Brunei0.080.080.080.00
Sudan0.020.050.06-0.04
South Sudan0.080.150.12-0.04
Total non-Opec†12.9713.0313.10-0.13
*revised †includes additional cuts where applicable

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