OPEC’s February oil output eased slightly due to production cuts in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, but these were offset by Libya and Angola.
The 14-member oil exporting countries group produced an average of 30.55 million barrels per day (bpd) in February, down by 221,000 bpd from the month earlier, OPEC said in its monthly oil market report, citing secondary sources.
OPEC and non-OPEC members agreed last year to cut production by 1.2 million bpd for a six month-period starting January to reduce oil inventories and prop up crude prices.
Venezuela, hit by a power and water crisis, saw the largest decline at 142,000 bpd to 1.008 million bpd. Meanwhile, the largest OPEC producer - Saudi Arabia cut its output by 86,000 barrels and Iraq, the second largest, shed 70,000 bpd.
Collectively, OPEC countries volunteered to reduce output by 812,000 bpd, with Saudi Arabia accounting for the majority with 322,000, Iraq with 141,000 and Russia with 230,000 bpd.
Exempt from the production cut agreement, Libya, increased its output by 23,000 bpd, which is set to rise further after the state oil company lifted a force majeure on Sharara, its largest oilfield earlier this month.
In 2019, demand for OPEC crude is forecast at 30.5 million bpd, around 1.1 million bpd lower than the estimated 2018 level, the report said.
“The slowdown in global economic growth is also expected to contribute to somewhat lower oil demand requirements in 2019. Global oil demand is expected to increase by 1.24 million bpd this year, down from growth of 1.43 million bpd last year,” OPEC said in the report.
The US is expected to lead OECD growth, while in the non-OECD, a slowdown in China is likely to be offset by a recovery in demand growth in the Middle East.
While oil demand is expected to grow at a moderate pace in 2019, OPEC said it is still well below the strong growth expected in the non-OPEC supply forecast for this year. “This highlights the continued shared responsibility of all participating producing countries to avoid a relapse of the imbalance and continue to support oil market stability in 2019,” OPEC said.