Saudis Pump Most Oil in 30 Years, Boosting OPEC July Output

Saudi Arabia pumped the most oil in three decades last month, reaching 9.8 million barrels a day and boosting OPEC production, the International Energy Agency said. Increased output in Angola helped replace lower supply in Libya.

Daily supply from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ 12 members rose to 30.05 million barrels a day in July from 29.94 million in June, the Paris-based IEA said today in its monthly oil market report.

“Output has regained levels close to those seen before the Libyan crisis, although OPEC spare capacity now stands at only 3.3 million barrels per day,” the IEA said. Production is still below what the market demands, even as Saudi Arabia ramps up output to the highest level since 1981.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s top producer, has replaced almost 70 percent of lost Libyan crude, the IEA said. The Kingdom will boost output further to ship an extra 3 million barrels of oil to India in August to compensate for lower Iranian supplies.

Output in Iran, OPEC’s second-biggest producer, fell to the lowest in more than eight and a half years, dipping to 3.53 million barrels a day, the IEA said. Exports to India were reduced by a seven-month dispute over payments.

Libyan Output

Libya’s daily production slumped by a further 20,000 barrels in July to 60,000 barrels. Output is now reportedly entirely shut in, down from about 1.6 million barrels of daily output at the end of last year, due to violence between anti- government rebels and forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi.

Angola pumped 1.66 million barrels a day in July, its highest output in a year, after completing maintenance on fields, the IEA said. Capacity may rise to 2 million barrels a day by the end of the year as new projects begin producing, according to the report.

Output from the 11 members bound by quotas rose to 27.37 million barrels a day in July from 27.22 million in June, the IEA said. That implies a compliance rate of 40 percent with OPEC’s production targets, compared with 43 percent in June.

OPEC, provider of about 40 percent of the world’s crude, set its biggest-ever supply cuts in late 2008 amid a collapse in global demand. The decision capped production at 24.845 million barrels a day for all members except Iraq, which is exempt from the quota system. Members have largely exceeded quotas this year as they sought to take advantage of higher global crude prices earlier this year and to make up for the lack of Libyan crude.

Compliance percentages are based on combined output from the 11 members that committed to reduce from a base production rate in September 2008 of 29.045 million barrels a day.

OPEC’s members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

To contact the reporters on this story: Anthony DiPaola in Dubai at adipaola@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephen Voss on sev@bloomberg.net.

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