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Oil output restrained by Forcados, Nembe Creek pipelines outages

Brent nears $125 as supply lags on improved demand

Nigeria managed to boost crude oil exports but the increase was restrained by outages of the Forcados and Nembe Creek pipelines. Nembe creek crude oil pipeline was closed January 17, 2015 due to a leak, while the Trans Forcados oil pipeline was also shut about the same time. Both pipelines have been reopened, bringing back on stream part of the network whose closure also led to a near halving of the country’s gas production.

The Forcados pipeline transports the Forcados crude oil grade and was scheduled to export about 260,000 barrels per day in January and 210,000 bpd in February, while Nembe Creek crude oil pipeline which carries Bonny Light crude transports about 150,000 barrels per day.

Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil production rose in January as record Iraqi output helped drive prices near six-year lows. Production by OPEC climbed 483,000 bpd to 30.905 due to more Angolan exports and steady to higher output in Angola, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers.

The largest boost for January came from Angola, which pumped 1.8 million bpd and exported about 57 cargoes, up 160,000 bpd from December 2014. Output would have been higher without some cargo delays, including of new crude Sangos.

Read also: Crude oil storage revives West Africa-US crude market

Output in Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s top producer, climbed 220,000 bopd to 9.72 MMbpd. Shipments to China increased as lower prices encouraged crude storage.

Iraqi production rose 200,000 bopd to 3.9 MMbopd this month, the biggest gain after Saudi Arabia. Output climbed as the country added growing Kurdish supplies to its exports, while southern oilfields remain unscathed by Islamic State militants.

Adel Abdul Mahdi, Iraqi Oil Minister said in Baghdad that crude output in Iraq hit a record 4 MMbpd. Iraq is OPEC’s second-biggest producer.

Angolan production increased 190,000 bpd to 1.81 MMbpd, the third-biggest advance in January. The increase came from Enibegan’s first production from the West Hub development project in Block 15/06 in December.

There were production declines from some OPEC members. The country with a notable decline in output is Libya, where ports and oilfields have been shut due to fighting and supply fell further in January to 350,000 bpd.

Libyan output fell 150,000 bopd to 300,000 in January, the lowest level since June. Production has slumped since the 2011 rebellion that ended Muammar Qaddafi’s 42-year rule. The country pumped 1.585 million in January 2011.

OPEC at a November 2014 meeting decided to focus on market share rather than cutting output, despite concerns from members such as Iran and Venezuela about falling oil revenue. At the November 27 meeting, OPEC retained its output target of 30 million bpd, sending oil prices to sub-$50 per a barrel.

However, oil seems to be on the rebound, coming off their best on persistent worries over China’s demand outlook.  Brent crude futures opened at $55 a barrel on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 before edging back to $54.97 by 0125 GMT. US WTI futures were at $49.94 a barrel, down from a high of $50.46 a barrel.