The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has reported its February export numbers dropped some 175,000 barrels per day to now average 32.28 (mbpd) million barrels per day. Contributing factors include the global price downturn, exports from Iraqi Kurdistan and the fact that Iran is now exporting oil as well after international sanctions were lifted in January.
In OPEC's February report, they stated, "crude oil output decreased mostly from Iraq, Nigeria and(United Arab Emirates, while production increased in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait." Still, OPEC's oil production has exceeded international demand and they now believe they will produce 31.5 million barrels per day. Iran, which has the second-largest oil reserves in the world, however, has produced 3.1 mbpd in February which is a significant increase from 2.9 in January.
Despite global oil prices falling last week after it was reported Tehran would join Saudi Arabia and Russia in the oil freeze only after they reached pre-sanction levels of oil production of 4.0 mbpd. However, oil prices have had a slight increase in early March, increasing to $35.62 a barrel--an 8% increase, a first in the last three months. This is a positive step as crude prices were over $100 in 2014 and dropped down to $30,
OPEC however, is positive since they stated, "numerous positive factors, such as the freeze proposal and "a fairly healthy physical oil market... despite ongoing oversupply, a slowing global economy, record high inventories and a strengthening US dollar." Saudia Arabia, with the world's largest reserves went against OPEC's proposed agreement and defended market share in order to push out higher-price producers in the US, such as shale oil producers--this tactic has partial success with a drop of 700,000 barrels per day in non-OPEC countries headed by North America. They now average 56.93 mbpd. "The expectation of reduced cash flow in 2016 has prompted many companies to reduce investments, deferring major new projects until a sustained price recovery can be maintained," OPEC said.