Paris: OPEC’s oil output dropped sharply last month as a result of steep production cuts in Venezuela and kingpin Saudi Arabia, the cartel said on Wednesday.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ combined oil production plunged by 534,000 barrels per day in March, it said in a report citing secondary sources.
OPEC does not release its own production data.
Venezuela, in the throes of political troubles, sanctions and repeated power blackouts, pumped 289,000 fewer barrels per day than the previous month, taking production to 732,000 bpd.
This compares to the more than a million barrels per day Venezuela was pumping at the start of the year, and its production capacity of nearly two mbpd in 2017.
Kingpin Saudi Arabia’s production, meanwhile, fell by 324,000 bpd, according to OPEC’s sources, the report said.
This, analysts say, is a result of the kingdom’s determination to support oil prices in line with a production cut deal between OPEC countries and non-member Russia that is to run until June.
These efforts appear to be paying off. Oil prices rose at their
fastest pace in 14 years over the first quarter of the year.
On Wednesday the WTI futures contract, the benchmark for US production, stood at 64.42 and its European counterpart, Brent, at 70.95. (AFP)