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OPEC crude output in April averaged 31.85 million b/d, flat from March, an S&P Global Platts survey found, with the bloc still showing high compliance with its production cut agreement, as increases in Angola and Nigeria were offset by declines from Libya and Iraq.
OPEC ministers will meet in Vienna on May 25 to review the agreement and potentially extend the cuts past their June expiry.
Thus, the April production figures in the Platts survey and the five other secondary sources used by OPEC to monitor output will be some of the final data points that the organization considers at its meeting.
OPEC's collective April output was some 80,000 b/d above its stated ceiling of 32.5 million b/d, when Indonesia, which typically produces about 730,000 b/d, is added in. Indonesia suspended its OPEC membership in November and is not included in the Platts survey estimates for 2017.
OPEC's largest producer Saudi Arabia averaged 9.97 million b/d in April, according to the survey, below its quota under the deal of 10.058 million b/d.
The kingdom is seen as a driver of OPEC's production cut deal, with energy minister Khalid al-Falih saying at a conference in Abu Dhabi last month that there appeared to be a growing consensus on a need to extend the cuts, as global inventories remain stubbornly high.
Iraq, which has faced criticism for not fully complying with its required cut, produced 4.36 million b/d in April, the survey found, as the Taq Taq field in the Kurdistan Region of the country has seen output decline, while exports from Iraq's Persian Gulf terminal also fell during the month.
The country's April output is 9,000 b/d above its quota under the deal, the closest it has been to compliance. Over the January through April period, however, its average remains 60,000 b/d above its quota, the highest among OPEC members.
Iran, which is allowed a slight output increase under the deal, held production steady in April at 3.77 million b/d, the survey found, below its quota of 3.797 million b/d.
The UAE, also under pressure from fellow OPEC members to come into compliance with its quota, lowered production slightly to 2.84 million b/d, down 10,000 b/d from March, the survey found.
Angola saw new production come online in its offshore East Hub development, with the country's output rising 80,000 b/d in the month to 1.68 million b/d.
Nigeria, meanwhile, ended maintenance on key export grade Bonga in April, with production at the field ramping up throughout the month. The country's output averaged 1.65 million b/d in April, according to the survey.
In Libya, a blockade of a pipeline from the Sharara field to the Zawiya terminal in the country's west by a militia knocked production down significantly in the month to 550,000 b/d.
Libya's National Oil Company declared force majeure on Zawiya on April 9, but NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla last week announced that a deal had been struck with the Petroleum Facilities Guard militia to reopen Sharara, as well as the nearby El Feel field.
Nigeria and Libya, both impacted heavily by militancy over the last year, are exempt from the production deal, which led some OPEC watchers to doubt the effectiveness of the agreement, if production from the two countries were to recover and offset any cuts.
But the two countries' combined January-April average output of 2.273 million b/d is just 6,300 b/d higher than their October levels, according to the Platts survey.
Of the 11 members of OPEC that have a quota under the deal, compliance is 117%, based on January through April averages.
If Iran is not included, the 10 members of OPEC required to cut production have achieved a collective 105% of their cuts, based on January through April averages.
Since the deal covers an average of January to June output, month-to-month fluctuations are to be expected.
The Platts estimates were obtained by surveying OPEC and oil industry officials, traders and analysts, as well as reviewing proprietary shipping data.
In concert with OPEC, 11 non-OPEC countries led by Russia have also agreed to cut output by a combined 558,000 b/d in the first half of 2017, with many of those countries phasing in their reductions or relying on natural declines.
Russia last week announced it had reached its commitment to cut 300,000 b/d.
Ministers from those 11 non-OPEC producers will also be meeting in Vienna with OPEC on May 25 to review their participation in the deal and any extension.
Since 1988, S&P Global Platts has published a monthly survey tracking OPEC crude oil production by country. The estimates are obtained through a review of proprietary shipping data, news reportage and surveys of knowledgeable sources.
Data reviewed include loading programs, export statistics and tanker tracking via Platts cFlow. Sources interviewed for the survey include national oil company or ministry officials; analysts at international agencies, think tanks, consultancies and banks; and traders. The sources remain confidential and are interviewed by a team of Platts oil news reporters -- typically led by Herman Wang, Platts OPEC correspondent, and Eklavya Gupte, Platts senior editor for Europe and Africa news.
The survey is typically published between the 5th and 10th of each month, and it measures oil output -- excluding condensates and NGLs.