New York: Opec crude oil production declined to a 15-month low as Saudi Arabia reduced output because of waning demand from consumers, a Bloomberg survey showed. Opec Output slipped 525,000 barrels, or 1.7 per cent, to an average 30.479 million barrels a day this month from a revised 31.004 million in December, the survey of oil companies, producers and analysts showed.
The December total was revised 430,000 barrels a day lower mostly because of the change to the Saudi number. Brent crude for March settlement rose 65 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to end the session at $115.55 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was the highest close since October 15.
"Opec members are cutting because of concern about demand and a surplus in stockpiles and are responding to a lack of market interest," said Sarah Emerson, managing director of Energy Security Analysis in Wakefield, Massachusetts. "They are getting to that magic number of 30 million and won't have to cut much more."
Saudi Arabia, Opec's biggest oil producer, pumped 9.1 million barrels a day this month, the lowest level since May 2011. Output was down 100,000 barrels a day from December and 800,000 barrels from May, when production reached the highest level since at least January 1989. December production was revised 370,000 barrels lower.
Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, an adviser to Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, said on January 14 that his country reduced December output because customers asked for less. Al-Muhanna denied what he said were suggestions that it cut oil production last month to push prices higher and accused unidentified media of misinterpreting the kingdom's response to weaker demand.
"They got to the fourth quarter and saw where demand was and responded by cutting production," Emerson said. "It looks like all the Gulf producers are reining in output."