By John Lee.
OPEC crude output hit a four-month low in July as unrest and conflict in Libya and Iraq disrupted supplies, a Reuters survey found on Wednesday.
Supply from the organization averaged 30.25 million bpd, down from 30.38 million bpd in June, and the lowest since March 2013 when the group pumped 30.18 million bpd, the survey of shipping data and sources at oil firms, OPEC and consultants found.
The survey further illustrates that internal strife is undermining supplies from African OPEC producers and putting a brake on the plans of Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, to expand exports – propping up oil prices.
In July, involuntary curbs by Iraq and Libya have outweighed extra crude from top OPEC exporter, Saudi Arabia, which industry sources say has refined more crude and sent more to domestic power plants to meet demand for air conditioning.
The most notable drop in OPEC output has come from Libya. Protests at oilfields and terminals have cut supply further to around 1.15 million bpd.
Iraq’s exports have slipped to 2.25 million bpd in July, according to shipping data. Iraq’s Sunni insurgents are targeting its northern pipeline, while technical problems in the south have also weighed on supply.
The world’s fastest-growing exporter in 2012, Iraq is at risk of seeing its output decline this year.