OPEC monthly report shows cartel has slowed pace of oil output cuts

OPEC monthly report shows cartel has slowed pace of oil output cuts

The bulk of OPEC’s came from Venezuela, one of three member countries exempt from the cartel’s latest production-cut agreement

OPEC continued to cut its crude-oil production in February but at a significantly reduced rate than the month prior and well-below the group’s pledge to the market, the oil-cartel said Thursday.

In its closely watched monthly oil-market report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said its crude output had fallen by 221,000 barrels a day in February from January, to average 30.55 million barrels a day, citing secondary sources. That compares with a decline of 797,000 barrels a day in January—the first month in which a fresh OPEC-led plan to limit production took effect.

Late last year, OPEC and a group of 10 producers outside the cartel, led by Russia, agreed to hold back output by a collective 1.2 million barrels a day for the first half of 2019, compared with October 2018 levels. OPEC member states agreed to cut 800,000 barrels a day of that quota, with Saudi Arabia—the world’s largest exporter of crude—handling a 250,000-barrel a day reduction.

But Saudi production in February came down by just 86,000 barrels a day, bringing output to 10.09 million barrels a day, the report showed. That compares with a decrease of 350,000 barrels a day the month prior.

The bulk of OPEC’s cuts in February came from Venezuela, one of three member countries exempt from the cartel’s latest production-cut agreement. Venezuela, which is facing an economic and political crisis and is currently subject to U.S. oil sanctions, saw production fall by 142,000 barrels a day last month, to average just over 1 million barrels a day, OPEC said.

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