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Economy

Nigeria, Others Cause OPEC’s Crude Oil Output Shortfall in March

By Adedapo Adesanya

Reduced crude oil exports by Nigeria were one of the major reasons why the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recorded a decline in the amount of crude produced in March 2024.

A survey by Reuters on Monday showed that OPEC pumped less crude in March, reflecting lower exports from Iraq and Nigeria against a backdrop of ongoing voluntary supply cuts by some members agreed with the wider OPEC+ alliance.

OPEC pumped 26.42 million barrels per day last month, down 50,000 barrels per day from February, the survey, based on shipping data and information from industry sources, found.

Several members of OPEC+, which includes OPEC, Russia and other allies, made new cuts in January to counter economic weakness and increase supply outside the group. OPEC fell about 190,000 barrels per day short of its targeted cuts in March, largely because of Iraq, Nigeria and Gabon pumping more than they had aimed for.

Iraq last month promised to lower outputs to make up for pumping above its OPEC target, a pledge that would cut shipments by 130,000 barrels per day from February.

The 50,000 barrels per day cut in March leaves more to do in later months to meet the pledge.

Nigerian production also declined, with exports falling sharply according to some ship trackers as the Dangote refinery took in more cargoes.

Gulf producers Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) each kept output close to their voluntary targets, the survey found, as did Algeria.

Output in Iran, exempt from quotas, edged lower as the country pumped near a five-year high reached in November after posting one of OPEC’s biggest output increases in 2023 despite US sanctions still in place.

Libya, which is also exempt from quotas, pumped an extra 20,000 barrels per day as the country’s output returned to normal after disruption in February.

The Reuters survey aims to track supply to the market and is based on shipping data provided by external sources, LSEG flows data, information from companies that track flows – such as Petro-Logistics and Kpler – and information provided by sources at oil companies, OPEC and consultants.

Producers agreed last month to keep them in place until the end of June.

An OPEC+ panel of key ministers will meet on Wednesday, April 3 to review the market and members’ production, and is not expected to recommend any policy changes ahead of the group’s next full meeting set for June 1.

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