Exports of OPEC countries hit maximum since start of pandemic
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OPEC states in December increased oil exports by 690 barrels per day (bpd) compared to November. Exports reached 20.34 million bpd – the highest level since April 2020, according to Refinitiv figures.

    The main contributors to this growth were Iraq and Saudi Arabi, which boosted exports by a combined 600,000 bpd. The surprise was Venezuela, which more than doubled its exports in December (from 170,000 to 450,000 bpd) – even if the effect was in part created by a low statistical base. As a result, Venezuela’s share in OPEC exports rose to 2.2 % from 0.5.% in Novembe , whereas the share of the organisation’s Middle East member-states (77 %) and African member-states (20.8 %) remained at practically the same level as a month earlier (78 % and 21.5 % respectively).

    Algeria also increased exports in December (by 100,000  bpd) as did Congo (by 80,000 bpd), Equatorial Guinea (by 70,000 bpd), Gabon (by 40,000 bpd) and the United Arab Emirates (by 10,000 bpd). In any event the increases registered by these countries were offset by reduced exports by Kuwait (by 200,000 bpd), Nigeria (by 180,000 bpd), Libya (by 60,000 bpd), Angola (by 20,000 bpd) and Iran (by 20,000 bpd).

    The rise in supply on markets was slightly lower: In November, OPEC’s 13 member-states produced 27.74 million bpd, the total in December stood at 27.8 million. The level of fulfillment of assigned production obligations – as set by the OPEC+ agreement – stood at 115 % (compared to 120 % in November).

    The OPEC+ alliance announced on 4th January that it would boost its base supply level in February by 400,000 bpd.

    Therefore, in the first two months of 2022, the cartel’s 13 states are very likely to keep increasing levels for production and export.  

    Further increases will depend to a considerable extent on how serious oil markets view the threat of an emerging surplus, given the effect of increased supply from outside OPEC. Production in the United States in the last week of December reached 11.8 million bpd – the highest level in more than 18 months, according to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy.

    For the moment, markets are dominated by optimism. Futures prices for Brent crude on the Intercontinental Exhcnage (ICE) in London in the period from 31st December to 7th January, climbed from $77.80 to $81.80 a barrel.

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