OPEC oil production rose by 40,000 barrels per day in in March to 32.38 million bpd, according to data released by Platts. The increased production came one month before the key producers meeting in Doha, where a production freeze agreement is being sought by OPEC and non-OPEC producers.
"Iran and Iraq remain the big swing factors, having driven OPEC output higher in March, while Saudi Arabia has been more neutral, keeping production steady since January," said Eklavya Gupte, Platts senior editor. "Neither Iran nor Iraq has made firm commitments to the Doha talks on April 17, but their collective stance could be a decisive element regarding any agreement over a production freeze."
Production levels declined in the UAE, Libya, Nigeria, and Venezuela in March, but this was counterbalanced by a dramatic increase in Iranian production levels. Iran’s production levels reached 3.23 million bpd in March, a 340,000 bpd increase since December.
Iran is looking to ramp up its oil exports following the lifting of international sanctions against the Islamic Republic, and is finding buyers for its crude oil in India and European markets.
Iran has publically stated that it intends to keep increasing its production levels until they hit the 4 million bpd mark.