Barkindo: OPEC was Anticipating Revival in Libya, Nigeria, Iran Oil Production

Istanbul- OPEC wants an “orderly recovery” in oil production from Libya, Nigeria and Iran and has a flexible output target under its cuts agreement to accommodate more crude from the three member nations, the group’s Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo has said.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was anticipating a revival in production from the three when it set a targeted output range from 32.5 million to 33 million barrels a day under its November agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers, Barkindo told Bloomberg Television on Wednesday at a conference in Istanbul.

“What we would like to see is an orderly recovery that would not disrupt significantly the re-balancing of the market, which is a very delicate process which has taken longer than expected because of the change in fundamentals,” Barkindo said. By setting a range for the production ceiling, OPEC was “making provisions for the expected recovery of production” from Libya, Nigeria and Iran, he said.

Libya and Nigeria were both exempted from the cuts due to their internal strife, while Iran was allowed to raise production by 90,000 barrels a day as it was recovering from US sanctions. 

Libya and Nigeria are expected to send representatives to the next meeting of the OPEC and non-OPEC Joint Technical Committee on July 22 in Russia, Barkindo said.

OPEC recognizes that Libya, Nigeria, and Iran have faced “severe challenges,” and it welcomes their increased production, he said. “We are glad these countries are recovering fast.”

Libya’s output has risen to 1.05 million barrels a day, or 45,000 barrels a day more than the country was pumping at the beginning of July, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified for lack of authorization to speak to the media. The nation’s output is at the highest level since June 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The global cuts accord between OPEC and non-OPEC producers faced “headwinds” in the first quarter this year and didn’t cause crude stockpiles to decline fast enough, Barkindo said. 

Supply and demand now “show us we are on the right course” to achieving OPEC’s goal of reducing stockpiles to their five-year average, he said.

Shale producers “need to join us so that together we can restore stability and maintain it,” Barkindo said. “The global economy itself benefits from stable oil markets.”