In its Monthly Oil Market Report for October, released Thursday morning, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) noted that the cartel’s average price for its reference basket soared by $4.92 (up 7%) to $77.18 a barrel in the month of September. Year to date, OPEC’s reference basket is up $20.21 (40%) per barrel compared to the first nine months of 2017.
The cartel said OPEC production in September, as reported by secondary sources, rose month over month by 132,000 barrels a day to a daily average of 32.76 million barrels. Saudi Arabia’s September production rose to 10.50 million barrels a day, a month-over-month increase of about 100,000 barrels a day. Iranian production dropped by 150,000 barrels a day to around 3.45 million barrels, and Venezuelan production dropped by 42,000 barrels a day to about 1.20 million barrels.
The Saudis themselves reported total production of 10.5 million barrels a day in September, up by about 78,000 barrels a day compared to August. Under the production cuts initiated in January, Saudi Arabia’s quota is 10.058 million barrels a day. Iran reported September production of 3.76 million barrels a day, a month-over-month drop of 51,000 barrels, and Venezuela reported a drop of 14,000 barrels to a total of 1.43 million barrels a day.
Russia lifted September production by 150,000 barrels a day to a post-Soviet era record of 11.54 million barrels a day. On a year-over-year basis, OPEC now forecasts Russian production to average 11.19 million barrels a day in 2018, an increase of 20,000 barrels year over year.
OPEC now forecasts average 2018 global demand of 98.79 million barrels a day in 2018, down by about 30,000 barrels from the previous month’s estimate. The current estimate for 2019 global demand is 100.15 million barrels a day, down by 50,000 barrels from last month’s estimate.
Global demand growth for 2018 was forecast at 1.54 million barrels a day, down by 80,000 from the prior month’s estimate. The cartel’s projected demand growth for 2019 is now 1.36 million barrels a day, down by 50,000 barrels since last month’s report.
The cartel estimated 2018 non-OPEC supply rose by 15,000 barrels a day to 59.77 million barrels a day. For 2019, non-OPEC supply is expected to rise by 2.12 million barrels a day to an average of 61.89 million barrels a day, an increase of 14,000 barrels a day compared with last month’s estimate.
U.S. production growth in 2018 is now expected to rise by 2.05 million barrels a day, up by 31,000 barrels from last month’s forecast. The cartel’s estimate of total U.S. production in 2019 increased from 17.52 million barrels a day to 17.67 million barrels. That reflects a U.S. supply growth rate of 1.38 million barrels a day (up 8.5%) for 2019.
2018’s estimated demand for OPEC crude was unchanged at 32.7 million barrels a day, down by some 800,000 barrels a day compared to 2017. Demand in 2019 is now estimated at 31.8 million barrels a day, down by around 900,000 barrels a day from the 2018 level and down by 300,000 barrels compared to last month’s estimate.
Crude prices are falling again Thursday morning, with WTI for November delivery trading down about 1.5% at $72.09. Brent crude for December delivery traded down about 1.6% at $81.78.