OPEC Oil Output Drops to Lowest Level in 2.5 Years

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Oil production from OPEC dropped to its lowest level in 2 1/2 years, according to a Bloomberg survey. Production dropped by 11,000 barrels per day from January to February, down to an average of 29.877 million barrels per day. OPEC’s production hasn’t been that low since June 2011.

Much of the lost production was due to a decrease in production in Saudi Arabia, as well as the ongoing political conflict in Libya and Nigeria that has forced capacity offline. Libya’s oil production dropped by 120,000 bpd in February, marking the ninth out of eleven months in which oil production dropped. Its daily output now stands at 350,000 barrels — the country has the ability to produce around 1.5 million bpd, as it did before its civil war.

Yet, the numbers are always a little murky. A Reuters survey contradicts Bloomberg’s numbers, suggesting that output actually grew a bit in February, led by gains from Iraq, Angola, and Iran. Increases from these countries may have compensated for the outages in Libya and Nigeria. Iraq, in particular, may have increased oil production by 300,000 barrels per day, a notable increase.

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