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PR Newswire (Europe): Platts Survey: OPEC Pumps 30.5 mb/d in July, up 280,000 b/d

LONDON, August 11 /PRNewswire/ —

The 12 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pumped an average 30.5 million b/d of crude in July, 280,000 b/d higher than June’s 30.22 million b/d, a Platts (http://www.platts.com/) survey showed August 10.

Production from the 10 members bound by output agreements averaged 26.71 million b/d, up 110,000 b/d from June’s 26.6 million b/d, the survey showed.

Iraq, struggling to rebuild its oil industry after years of United Nations sanctions followed by a US-led war, does not participate in OPEC output pacts. Nor, at this stage, does Angola, which joined the producer group at the beginning of this year, after the output curbs currently in place were agreed.

OPEC-10 production has not fallen anywhere near the 25.8 million b/d target that came into effect at the beginning of February and has edged up over the past three months. The latest estimates leave OPEC-10 production more than 900,000 b/d above the notional ceiling.

The biggest single output increase came from Iraq, thanks to a recovery in exports from the south and some exports of northern crude from Ceyhan on the Turkish Mediterranean.

“This is terrific news for consumers, as the world is going to need this oil as we head toward the fourth quarter, the period in which demand is at its highest,” said John Kingston, Platts Global Director of Oil. “However, with the increase coming from Iraq, it does raise the question over whether such a jump can be sustained.”

Nigerian output also showed some recovery, with Shell inching its way back into the 380,000 b/d Forcados field and sending some workers back to abandoned flow stations in the remote swamps around the Forcados terminal. The field was shut in during February 2006 after militants bombed the export terminal as part of a campaign to wrest greater control of the country’s oil resources.

Other, smaller increases came from Angola, Iran, Qatar and the UAE.

OPEC is next scheduled to meet on September 11 in Vienna but has given no indication that, despite the upward drift in production, it may heed calls from the International Energy Agency and the world’s biggest oil consumer, the United States, to boost output ahead of the winter.

Algeria’s Minister for Energy and Mines Chakib Khelil said last Saturday that there was, at the moment, “no reason to increase or to decrease production,” but that OPEC would review the market at its upcoming meeting.

“If there is a need to increase production, we will increase and if there is a need to decrease, we will decrease,” he said, reiterating the view put forward by other top OPEC officials that there is not a shortage of crude but of refining capacity.

For more information on OPEC, go to the “Platts Guide to OPEC” at http://www.opec.platts.com.

About Platts:

Platts, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), is a leading global provider of energy and metals information. With nearly a century of business experience, Platts serves customers across more than 150 countries. From 14 offices worldwide, Platts serves the oil, natural gas, electricity, nuclear power, coal, petrochemical and metals markets. Platts’ real time news, pricing, analytical services, and conferences help markets operate with transparency and efficiency. Traders, risk managers, analysts, and industry leaders depend upon Platts to help them make better trading and investment decisions. Additional information is available at http://www.platts.com.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies:

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2006 were US$6.3 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com. Web site: http://www.platts.com http://www.mcgraw-hill.com http://www.opec.platts.com Platts

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