Sun, May 05, 2002 - Page 10 News List

OPEC's crude-oil output at low as Iraq cuts exports


OPEC crude-oil production fell to a 10-year low in April as a self-imposed embargo by Iraq and a strike in Venezuela outweighed gains by other members, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Daily output from all 11 members of OPEC fell 1.24 million barrels, or 4.9 percent, to 24.06 million barrels, the lowest level since June 1992, the survey of oil companies, producers and analysts showed. Most of the decline was caused by Iraq, which cut exports to show support for the Palestinians.

"We are not seeing a lot of added production making up for the absent Iraqi barrels," said Tim Evans, senior energy analyst at IFR Pegasus in New York. "The Iraqi embargo puts the world market in deficit for the month of April. If Iraqi production resumes next week, we'll see a surplus again and quickly recover the barrels that were lost."

A strike in Venezuela reduced that nation's output to an average 2.45 million barrels a day last month from 2.57 million in March.

Local industry estimates put the losses at 500,000 to 550,000 barrels a day for about a week. Refinery operations were also affected, causing reduced sales of refined products to the US.

Iraq slashed production by 50 percent to 1.23 million barrels a day from 2.46 million the month before. President Saddam Hussein declared the embargo on April 8.

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