OPEC November Oil Output Fell 0.3%, Led by African Producers, Survey Shows

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ crude-oil output fell in November, led by Nigeria, where attacks by armed groups are reducing production, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Production slipped 80,000 barrels, or 0.3 percent, to an average 29.05 million barrels a day, according to the survey of oil companies, producers and analysts. October output was revised higher by 120,000 barrels. Production by members with quotas, all except Iraq, dropped 80,000 barrels to 26.7 million, 1.855 million above their target.

“The Nigerian production numbers aren’t a surprise, given the fact that tensions are rising and rebels have had some success in attacking pipelines and terminals,” said Addison Armstrong, director of market research at Tradition Energy, a Stamford, Connecticut-based broker.

Nigeria’s production slipped 30,000 barrels a day to 2.12 million, the first decrease since August, according to the survey. It was the largest reduction of any member. Africa’s biggest producer exceeded its quota by 447,000 barrels, the most in OPEC.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta attacked an offshore platform operated by Exxon Mobil Corp. on Nov. 14. Nigerian troops raided camps on Nov. 17 and freed hostages seized at the Exxon Mobil and Afren Plc facilities. The army arrested militants it said were responsible.

Militant Offensive

Attacks in the southern Niger River delta, home to the country’s oil and gas industry, cut more than 28 percent of Nigeria’s oil exports between 2006 and 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A recent surge of attacks, following a period of relative calm after thousands of fighters disarmed under a government amnesty plan, has drawn a military crackdown.

Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude for loading in December and January will be affected by a force majeure declared by Royal Dutch Shell Plc on Nov. 19 after a pipeline leak, a company spokesman said on Nov. 23. Bonny Light is a low-sulfur grade prized by refiners because of the proportion of high-value gasoline it yields.

Force majeure is a legal clause that allows producers to miss export obligations because of circumstances beyond their control.

“If this were a time of year when U.S. refiners were clamoring for Bonny Light, there would have been a stronger market reaction,” Armstrong said.

Crude oil for January delivery declined $1.62, or 1.9 percent, to settle at $84.11 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures have increased 6 percent this year.

Angola and Nigeria

Angola and Venezuela, which reduced production by 20,000 barrels this month, were tied for the second-biggest decline. Angolan output averaged 1.73 million barrels a day in November, 213,000 barrels above its target. Venezuela pumped an average 2.18 million, the least since June, and 194,000 barrels above the country’s quota.

Libya, Iran and Algeria bolstered production by 10,000 barrels each in November, the only increases in OPEC. Libya pumped 1.575 million barrels, the highest level since January 2009, and 106,000 barrels in excess of its target.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Shenk and Karyn Peterson in New York at mshenk1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net.

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