LONDON (Reuters) – OPEC is already raising oil supply in response to record prices and in advance of its deal to increase output from November, a consultant who tracks tanker movements said on Tuesday.
OPEC’s 10 members subject to output limits, all except Iraq and Angola, are set to pump 27.5 million barrels per day, up from a revised 27.2 million bpd in September, said Conrad Gerber of Petrologistics.
The estimate indicates that OPEC may be relaxing adherence to supply curbs in response to a jump in oil prices, which hit a record high of $90.07 on Friday. The group on Sept. 11 formally agreed to lift production from Nov. 1.
“It’s a surprisingly large increase,” Gerber told Reuters.
“The Saudis are obviously pushing out more crude in advance of the November increase.”
Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s top producer, is on course to lift supply to 8.95 million bpd from 8.88 million bpd in September, he said.
Overall output from the 12-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is set to rise 500,000 bpd to 31.4 million bpd, Petrologistics said, on higher shipments from Iraq and Angola.
Iraqi output is expected to rise to 2.2 million bpd this month, up about 40,000 bpd from September, Gerber said.
Exports are rising because the country is exporting some Kirkuk crude from its northern fields, shipments that have remained sporadic since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.
Angolan output, on a rising trend as new fields come on stream, is likely to climb to 1.75 million bpd from 1.6 million bpd in September.
Oil prices declined after the Petrologistics estimate was released. U.S. crude was down 13 cents at $85.89 a barrel as of 0849 GMT.
OPEC, source of more than a third of the world’s oil, agreed on Sept. 11 to raise output by 500,000 bpd from Nov. 1 in a gesture to consumer nations worried by the economic impact of record prices.
The move followed months of calls for more oil from top consumer the United States and the International Energy Agency that represents the interests of 26 industrialised nations.
OPEC’s deal, in theory, reverses most of the 1.7 million bpd of supply curbs agreed by the group since October 2006 because the OPEC 10 were already pumping above their nominal ceiling.
According to Petrologistics, they are now pumping oil at the same level from which they started cutting production in 2006.
OPEC said the 10 were pumping 27.5 million bpd before the cutbacks began.
Petrologistics, based in Geneva, assesses OPEC oil output by tracking tanker shipments. OPEC itself does not issue timely estimates of its own production.