*As OPEC output rises by 120,000bpd in August
By Prince Okafor with Agency Report
Nigeria’s crude oil production declined by 130, 000 barrel per day (bpd) in August to an average of 1.44 million bpd, as oil companies struggle to revamp pipelines in Niger Delta following severe attacks by militant groups.
The country suffered the biggest decline among members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.
The oil market has been plagued by a stubborn supply glut that saw prices plunge to near 13-year lows below $30 at the start of 2016.
This is even as oil production among the 14 member states rose by 120 000 barrels a day to average 33.69 million a day in August, as against 33.24 bpd in July, according to a survey by Bloomberg.
Libya’s production also dropped by 40, 000 bpd to 260, 000 bpd as the country’s political factions continued to feud over the control of oil export terminals.
Iraq led the increase, by a supply of 70, 000 bpd to 4.48 million a day, after the government resumed flows from Kirkuk through a northern export pipeline controlled by the nation’s Kurds, signalling progress in a long-standing dispute over payments.
Iran raised production by 60, 000 barrels a day to 3.62 million as it continues its return to global markets after the end of international sanctions in January.
Saudi Arabia, the group’s biggest and most powerful member, raised output by 30 000 barrels a day to an all-time high of 10.69 million a day.
Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak described the announcement as marking a “new era” in cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia insisting it would have a “critical significance” for oil markets
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, Khaled al-Faleh said “currently no need to freeze production. A freeze is one of the preferred options but it is not needed for the moment. “
The country increased production so as to meet both domestic consumption which peaks during summer due to surging air conditioning use and demand from customers overseas.
In a joint statement after a meeting at the G20 summit in China, Novak and al-Faleh said they have agreed to set up a “joint monitoring group” to offer recommendations aimed at preventing price fluctuations.
“The particular importance of constructive dialogue and close cooperation between the largest oil-producing countries with the goal of supporting the stability of the oil market and ensuring a stable level of investment in the long term,” the energy ministers from both countries said.