OPEC output rose last month after Libya recovery, symbolic hike

OPEC production rose last month after a recovery in crisis-torn Libya and a symbolic increase pledged by other members.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries boosted oil supplies by 230,000 barrels a day to 29.89 million, with about half the gain coming from the North African country, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Saudi Arabia led increases to fulfill the token hike of 100,000 barrels a day, promised after US President Joe Biden called on producers to help tame prices during a visit to the kingdom this summer.

The next direction for OPEC supplies appears to be lower, however. The cartel and its allies are discussing a production of cut of 1 million barrels a day or more, to be finalized at a hastily-convened meeting in Vienna on Wednesday — their first face-to-face gathering since 2020. The symbolic hike announced for September is also due to be effectively annulled with a corresponding reduction of 100,000 barrels a day scheduled for this month.

Brent crude soared above $125 a barrel following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. It’s since dropped to $85 as central banks raise interest rates to fight inflation and economies from the US to China slow, tempering the spectacular windfall enjoyed by the Saudis and their partners.

Libya has seen a rebound in output after the government reached a July agreement with protesters and tribal leaders to reopen fields and export terminals largely shut for months.

Bloomberg’s survey is based on ship-tracking data, information from officials and estimates from consultants including Kpler Ltd. and Rapidan Energy Group. – BLOOMBERG