Saudi Arabia surpassed Russia as the OPEC+ group's largest crude oil producer in December, beating non-OPEC leader Russia, which has struggled to ramp up output recently as the alliance boosts supplies in monthly increments, according to Energy Intelligence on Tuesday.
Since April 2020, Russia and Saudi Arabia have had the equal output caps under the OPEC+ agreement, but Russia has constantly outproduced the Saudis, often surpassing the pact's quota.
Saudi Arabia produced 10.01 million barrels per day (bpd) in December, up 104,000 bpd from November, while Russia only increased output by 7,000 bpd to just under 9.95 million bpd.
The 19 members with quotas produced 37.59 million bpd in December, falling short of the targeted output of 38.34 million bpd by around 750,000 bpd, according to data released by group after their last meeting earlier in January.
Energy Intelligence calculated that the alliance is over two months behind schedule on the monthly hikes of 400,000 bpd that it approved last summer as countries fall short of their quotas.
“To put it in different terms, the amount of oil the alliance cranked out in December should have been achieved in October,” it said, warning that the gap between targeted output and realized amount could worsen in January-February as the intended monthly increases of 400,000 bpd remain in place while several members of the alliance struggle to ramp up their output.
Nigeria and Angola are the group’s two biggest under-producers and failed their December targets by a combined 670,000 bpd, which accounts for about 90% of the alliance's shortfall.
By Sibel Morrow