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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid