Crude oil production in the members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) held broadly steady last month, with modest increases across most of its African members.
Nigeria led the gains, followed by Congo, Gabon, Angola and Equatorial Guinea. Several of those countries are having their oil production capability assessed by OPEC, a review that could potentially secure them higher output quotas for 2024.
OPEC members pumped an average of 28.08 MMbpd in October — about 50,000 bpd more than the previous month, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Nigeria, which said it wanted to restore production to previous levels to secure a higher quota, boosted supplies in October by 60,000 bpd to 1.49 MMbbl.
While that’s the highest in almost two years, it’s still below the country’s aspirations, and it’s unclear whether that will be enough for a quota revision. The increases by African members last month were countered by fractional reductions in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Libya.
World Oil gathered that prices of crude oil fluctuated in the weeks after Hamas/Israel turmoil, initially surging on concern that the crisis could draw in Iran, a key backer of the militant group and a major Persian Gulf exporter. Yet the market has since cooled as supplies remain unaffected, with Brent futures hovering around $86 a bbl Wednesday.
The face-off hasn’t affected the strategy of OPEC leader Saudi Arabia, which is keeping production on a tight leash after slashing it during the summer in a bid to shore up prices. Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said last week the policy is “working.”
Riyadh has had some assistance from Russia, the joint leader of a wider coalition known as OPEC+, which pledged export cutbacks.
Nonetheless, the latest tanker tracking by Bloomberg indicates that Russian shipments of crude increased by 110,000 bpd to 3.64 MMbpd in the week to Oct. 29. The advance reflected a jump in shipments from Novorossiysk in the Black Sea that was partly offset by a drop in the number of vessels leaving Russia’s Baltic and Pacific ports.
OPEC is assessing output capacity in several African states following an agreement in June that downgraded their targets for 2024 following years of underperformance. Many producers in the continent are suffering from inadequate investment, operational disruptions and political instability.