IEA report warns OPEC 2013 capacity growth 85% lower than estimated

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View of an OPEC oil ministers conference room in Vienna, Austria. Photo – Heinz-Peter Bader

The International Energy Agency said on Thursday OPEC’s net crude oil production capacity is expected to be 85% lower than the agency’s 2011 estimates, rising by 245,000 barrels a day next year to 35.03 million barrels a day.

The Paris-based IEA noted in its monthly Oil Market Report that growth will be lower due to downward revisions to output capacity in Iran, Qatar and Algeria. According to the agency’s December 2011 report, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would be able to pump 36.39 million barrels a day in 2013.

Tehran’s production capacity will fall by about 570,000 barrels a day to an average 2.67 million barrels a day in 2013, the report said, while revising downward  Qatar and Algeria’s expected output by a combined 440,000 barrels a day.

“The outlook assumes there is no positive resolution reached in the current round of discussions and that sanctions continue through 2013 on Iran,” the agency said. “The stiffer banking regulations and shipping insurance constraints will continue to lead to reduced exports and ultimately force Iranian officials to mothball oil fields, though it is impossible to predict the pace.”

The IEA report disclosed that Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Libya and Angola are expected to collectively add almost 1 million barrels a day in 2013 in net volumes, to offset any decrease in Iranian output. A recovery in Libyan output has helped OPEC capacity rise by about 750,000 barrels a day this year, the agency noted.

According to the IEA data, Baghdad is on course to increase its capacity by 440,000 barrels a day to an average 3.38 million, with capacity rising from 2.99 million barrels a day in the first quarter of this year to 3.74 million barrels a day by the fourth quarter of 2013.

UAE is set to increase its capacity by 219,000 barrels a day to 3.03 million, while Libya is seeking to pump 1.6 million from 1.28 million barrels per day. Angola, one of the fastest growing African economies, intends to add 143,000 barrels a day to 1.98 million.

The IEA report forecast Saudi Arabia’s capacity to decline by 25,000 barrels a day to 11.86 million. However, it will rebound in 2014 as the 900,000 barrel- a-day Manifa project ramps up, the report explained.

Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela are members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel.

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