News / Africa

OPEC Production Falls in September

A general view of the port and Zawiya Oil Refinery, west of the city of Tripoli, Libya, Aug. 22, 2013.
A general view of the port and Zawiya Oil Refinery, west of the city of Tripoli, Libya, Aug. 22, 2013.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
OPEC’s crude oil production fell below 30-million barrels a day in September. That’s the first time that’s happened in more than two years.


There are two main reasons for the drop in OPEC production. John Kingston of Platts says one is a temporary problem, while the other is ongoing and may be more troublesome.

“The temporary reason is that there was significant maintenance at some of the Iraqi operations in that month and that’s coming back. And we would expect Iraq production to get back toward its normal level. The one that’s been a lot more troubling – and it wasn’t new to September, though it seemed to pick up pace in September – are all the problems going on in Libya.”

Kingston is global director of news for Platts, a major provider of information about the energy, petrochemical, metals and agricultural sectors. He said that Libya’s crude oil production has fallen because of strikes and protests.

“After Ghadafi fell, the country’s production came back a lot faster than a lot of people expected. You know, they were producing about 1.6-million barrels a day prior to the Ghadafi fall and the (output) of course dropped down to like not much more than zero – and then climbed back smartly. But now these problems that have brought production down below half a million barrels a day, they are a little bit more intractable. And they’re not the kind of things that get fixed overnight. So Libya is clearly an issue for the oil market,” he said.

And Libyan crude is not the type that’s easily replaced.

He said, “The Libyan crude is some of the best crude in the world – some of the top quality. So to replace it on the market what you need to do is you need to produce more of a lesser quality crude. So it’s not a one for one. So this is clearly a source of some problems for the industry.”

Kingston said Libya has used its geographic position in North Africa to its advantage by supplying many refineries in southern France. Without a strong central authority, he said, Libyan crude oil production may remain up and down for a while.

“The kind of analogy is to look at Nigeria, which is always up and down depending on the level of political tension and political strife there. You get a couple of months where they get back up over two-million barrels a day and you think, OK, there we go. They’re on their way. And then a few months later they’ve shaved another several hundred thousand barrels a day of production off their output. So the concern is that Libya will have these months where some fields will come back, but then they can sink right back down,” he said.

The fall in Iraqi and Libyan output was offset somewhat by small production increases in Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Nigeria, UAE and Venezuela.

The Platts survey shows that Saudi Arabia, which has boosted output in recent months, remained unchanged in September at 10 million barrels a day.

Kingston said that OPEC’s production rises and falls depending on world demand.

“Right now, almost everybody in that organization is producing full out except for Saudi Arabia. Kuwait and the UAE have some fluctuation, but it’s Saudi Arabia. And the Saudis in the last year or so have fluctuated between a little over 9-million barrels a day and all the way up to 10-million barrels a day. That’s quite a bit of movement in just a year. So they’ve been stepping up to fill some of the gap that has been left by the problems that Libya has had.” 

OPEC’s next scheduled meeting is December 4th in Vienna. It currently has an official output ceiling of 30-million barrels a day.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid