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December 1, 2021

OPEC misses oil production targets once again

OPEC has come up short on its oil production targets, adding to uncertainties over the market’s stability ahead of OPEC+ talks this week.

By Scarlett Evans

A Reuters survey has found that the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)’s November oil output missed its target again, marking the latest in a several months long trend that has consistently seen OPEC nations unable to reach their production quotas.

 

The quotas were laid out under the OPEC+ deal, which states that members should be raising their combined production by 254,000 barrels per day. According to the latest Reuters survey, OPEC’s crude oil production rose by only 220,000 bpd over the month of November.

 

Of the participating nations, Saudi Arabia and Iraq – OPEC’s top two producers – had the highest increases in production, while Angola saw the greatest decline, with output dropping by 50,000 bpd between October and November due to a lack of capacity.

 

OPEC+ members are meeting Thursday this week to discuss January production levels, and the latest report has brought the difficulty in meeting current targets under scrutiny. This, in addition to uncertainty around the Omicron Covid variant, is expected to impact predictions for oil demand and decisions around the monthly quota.

 

The pandemic’s impact on oil continues to be felt and the market has seen significant volatility as a result. While demand is gradually picking up again, some nations simply no longer have capacity to meet the renewed calls for supply, while others are reluctant to push supplies for fear of continued restrictions and delays in the wake of new variants.

 

Pressure for more oil production has come in no small part from US President Biden, who has been calling on OPEC to increase supplies to aid people through the winter months, despite his administration’s messaging at COP26 that reducing reliance on fossil fuels is top of the agenda. These requests to the OPEC have thus far been refused, and the president dipped into the nation’s emergency reserves at the end of November – leading to calls for the US to turn its attention to boosting domestic production.

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