June 30, 2015 / 11:47 AM / 4 years ago

OPEC oil output hits three-year high in June on Iraq - Reuters survey

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC oil supply in June has climbed to a three-year high due to record or near-record output from Iraq and Saudi Arabia, a Reuters survey found, underlining the focus of the group’s top exporters on market share.

A worker walks at the Nahr Bin Umar field, north of Basra, southeast of Baghdad, November 16, 2014. REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani

The boost from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries puts output further above its target of 30 million barrels per day (bpd) and comes despite outages in Libya and Nigeria that curbed supplies.

OPEC supply has risen in June to 31.60 million bpd from a revised 31.30 million bpd in May, according to the survey, based on shipping data and information from sources at oil companies, OPEC and consultants.

The group has raised output by more than 1.3 million bpd since it decided in November 2014 to defend market share rather than prices. A final deal between world powers and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear work could add to supplies.

“If sanctions were to be eased, additional oil from Iran would flood onto the already oversupplied oil market,” said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

OPEC at a meeting on June 5 kept its policy unchanged, amid signs that the near-halving of oil prices since June 2014 was boosting demand and putting a dampener on the U.S. shale boom.

If the total remains unrevised, June’s supply would be OPEC’s highest since it pumped 31.63 million bpd in June 2012, based on Reuters surveys.

The biggest increase in June has come from Iraq, which has helped push OPEC output higher this year.

Exports from southern Iraq have jumped to 3 million bpd after Iraq split the crude stream into two grades, Basra Heavy and Basra Light, to resolve quality issues. Some companies have increased production following the move.

Shipments from Iraq’s north via Ceyhan in Turkey have remained steady despite tensions between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government over budget payments.

The KRG, which says it has not received its share of revenues from Baghdad, has boosted independent sales and cut allocations to Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organisation, say trade and industry sources. Still, this does not appear to have curbed actual volumes.

Top exporter Saudi Arabia has not scaled back output from May’s record, sources in the survey said, as Riyadh meets higher demand internationally and from domestic power plants and refineries.

However, there is no sign yet of a further sizeable boost in Saudi supply, they said.

Nigeria increased output by 60,000 bpd and the increase would have been larger without loading delays at the Bonny terminal and a force majeure on exports of Forcados crude.

Of the countries with lower output, Libya posted a slight decline as supply remained disrupted by unrest and negotiations to reopen closed oilfields had yet to succeed. Angola exported fewer cargoes following a strong month in May.

Kuwait’s output was reduced slightly as a result of the shutdown of the Wafra oilfield, shared by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, sources in the survey said.

Reporting by Alex Lawler, editing by David Evans

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