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Opec quota busters push output up

Opec oil production broke a seven-month downward trend in April, rising by 270,000 b/d to 28.2m b/d, according to the IEA.

Output from the 11 members with targets rose by 230,000 b/d, to 25.8m b/d – 0.95m b/d over Opec's 24.845m b/d target level. This overproduction – of which Iran accounted for about 40% – reduced Opec's high compliance rate of 83% in March, to 78%. Opec ministers were due to meet on 28 May to review the market outlook as well as the group's compliance with output targets.

The rise in Opec production offset lower non-Opec production to help lift global oil supply to 83.6m b/d in April, an increase of 230,000 b/d from March. Compared with April 2008, production was down by 2.8m b/d.

The IEA has revised up its forecast for non-Opec supply in 2009 by 50,000 b/d, based on higher-than-forecast North Sea output in February and a (probably temporary) bounce-back of Russian production in April. February data for the UK and Norway suggest a combined 450,000 b/d upward revision for the month, while Russian production in April was a reported 200,000 b/d higher than expected. These rises were partly offset by lower Chinese, Indonesian and Thai volumes, and a downward revision for Africa following a reappraisal of historical data.

Total non-Opec supply is forecast to dip from 50.6m b/d in 2008 to 50.3m b/d in 2009, as a steady decline in output from mature OECD assets and elsewhere outweighs new field start-ups and growth in biofuels and oil-sands production.

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