Here Is OPEC Production Cut Table, And It Has An “Error”

Shortly after the conclusion of today’s Vienna meeting, OPEC released the following table which lays out the breakdown of what the current reference production level is by nation, as well as the proposed adjustment to get to a 1.2 million barrel per day reduction, as well as the “pro forma” production number that will be effective on January 2017.

Two quick observations.

As noted previously, Indonesia is no longer in OPEC after it “suspended” its membership, effectively giving it full right to pump as much as it wants relative to its most recent October baseline production level of 722K per the OPEC monthly book. The reason for Indonesia’s departure, according to the Nigeria oil minister, is that it was “unable to contribute a large enough cut.”

More notably, Iran was in such a rush to declare victory and state that it is the only nation to be allowed to boost production that someone forgot to check the math in the table, because the 90,000 upward adjustment appears to be an error: the country’s Reference Production level of 3,975tb/d is actually well higher than the January production level of 3,797tb/d. However, for political and optical purposes, it was meant to give Iran a domestic “victory” over the Saudis, by giving Iran leeway to announce it was the only nation to be allowed to boost production in the face of Saudi opposition, when in reality it appears to have been a math glitch.

However, even more notable is that if one compares the OPEC production level per the “deal” relative to January output, is that total production appears to be higher by over 800,000 barrels. Keep in mind that both Libya and Nigeria are set to boost production higher, potentially to 1mmb/d and 2mm/d respectively, and expanding total OPEC production back over 33mmbpd in just a few months. This happens at a time of modest seasonal production reduction by the Saudis and modest cuts by other members, while the exempt nations are ramping up.

One wonders how long until the market does this math and realizes that basically the strategy since February was to jawbone prices higher, ramp up throughout and then adjust to seasonal levels in January 2017 and call it a cut?


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