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OPEC oil output drops to four-year low

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

TRIPOLI – Crude oil supply by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries fell to a four-year low in February, a Reuters survey found, as top exporter Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies over-delivered on the group’s supply pact while Venezuelan output registered a further involuntary decline.

The drop of 300,000 barrels per day comes despite criticism from US President Donald Trump, who on Monday tweeted a call for the group to ease its efforts to boost prices, saying they were “getting too high”.

OPEC, Russia and other non-members — an alliance known as OPEC+ — agreed to reduce supply by 1.2 million bpd. OPEC’s share is 800,000 bpd, to be delivered by 11 members — all except Iran, Libya and Venezuela, which are exempt from cuts.

According to the survey, the biggest drop in supply came from Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest oil producer, which pumped 130,000 bpd less than in January, the survey showed.

The second-biggest drop occurred in Venezuela after the US imposed sanctions on state oil firm PDVSA in January, slowing exports. Output in the country, once a top three OPEC producer, has already been in decline for years due to economic collapse.

The survey showed Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates also delivered larger cuts than required under the deal, while Iraq, a laggard on compliance in the last round of cuts, reduced supply with southern and northern exports edging lower.

Production in Libya was little changed as unrest kept the country’s biggest oilfield, El Sharara, offline for a month.

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