OPEC’s crude oil production further declined in December as the cartel’s leader Saudi Arabia continued to lead by example cutting much more than required and as the biggest laggards in compliance—Iraq and Nigeria—moved to better comply with their quotas, the monthly Reuters survey showed on Monday.
According to the survey of OPEC and oil companies sources, and ship-tracking data, OPEC’s production in December 2019 dropped by 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) compared to November and stood at 29.5 million bpd.
In November, OPEC’s crude oil production declined by 193,000 bpd from October, as Saudi Arabia cut production ahead of the OPEC+ meeting, Iraq tried to fall in line with its quota, and Iran further suffered from the U.S. sanctions, according to OPEC’s official figures.
In December, Saudi Arabia continued to reduce production, while OPEC and its Russia-led allies agreed to deepen the cuts in the first quarter of 2020 to prevent another glut on the market when demand is typically lower.
The Saudis reduced their crude oil production by another 50,000 bpd in December, taking the Kingdom’s over-compliance to more than 500,000 bpd compared to its quota in the deal, according to the Reuters survey.
Iraq—OPEC’s number two in terms of production and number one in terms of cheating with production quotas—also reduced its production by 50,000 bpd. Although this wasn’t enough to reach full compliance, Iraq was complying at 59 percent with its quota last month, up from meager 23-percent compliance in November, the survey found.
Nigeria saw its production drop by 80,000 bpd, nearing its quota, because of reduced exports of Bonga crude, traders told Reuters.
Angola saw the highest rise in production among OPEC members in December, after the end of maintenance that had affected the Girassol grade, according to the survey.
Venezuela also managed to raise production, which, if confirmed in OPEC’s figures later this month, would mean that the country exempt from the cuts and under U.S. sanctions would have had a three-month streak of rising production.
A Bloomberg survey last week found similar trends in OPEC’s production in December—Saudi Arabia cutting even more, and Iraq and Nigeria reducing their non-compliance rate.