OPEC Output Falls as Iran Pumps Least in 22 Years, Survey

OPEC oil production declined for a second month in July as Iranian output tumbled to a 22-year low, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Production fell 393,000 barrels, or 1.2 percent, to an average 31.165 million barrels a day this month from 31.558 million in June, according to the survey of oil companies, producers and analysts. It was the second straight decrease after daily output reached 21.62 million barrels in May, the highest level since October 2008.

Iran pumped 2.86 million barrels a day, down 300,000 barrels from June and the lowest level since February 1990. The Islamic republic was the third-biggest producer the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in July, after Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Iran had been the second-biggest since May 2000.

“Increasing sanctions are going to result in further declines in Iranian oil production,” said Rick Mueller, a principal with ESAI Energy LLC in Wakefield, Massachusetts. “The Iranians are going to struggle to find buyers and will have to shut in production. There are only so many countries that are willing to go against both the U.S. and Europe and purchase Iranian oil.”

European Ban

A European Union ban on the purchase, transport, financing and insurance of Iranian oil began on July 1. Sanctions aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear program have curbed investment in infrastructure and hindered the country’s ability to export.

Saudi Arabia increased output by 50,000 barrels a day to 9.88 million this month. The desert kingdom pumped 9.9 million barrels a day in May, the highest level since at least 1989.

Iraqi production decreased 10,000 barrels to 2.95 million a day this month. Output in April surged to 2.98 million barrels a day, the highest level since October 2000. The country’s output had been depressed since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

“Iraqi production continues to increase, which will mitigate the impact of Iranian cuts,” Mueller said.

Nigeria and Angola, Africa’s biggest oil producers, had the second- and third-biggest output declines in OPEC this month, according to the survey. Nigeria’s production slipped 75,000 barrels a day to 2.105 million. Angola pumped 1.725 million barrels a day, down 65,000 barrels from June.

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: Bill Banker at bbanker@bloomberg.net

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