Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Both IEA and OPEC detailed numbers for April oil production are now available. The above shows the situation for Iran (not zero-scaled). It appears that production is continuing to decline - down around 500kbd from the plateau in the mid-2000s, and down 300kbd from the post-great-recession plateau. The rate of decline is accelerating.
If this continues (with more sanctions to bite in June/July), it would appear that Iran might have to become less intransigent in negotiations over its nuclear program.
Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia, production has eked out very small increases in the last few months and definitely seems to have established a new high a little above the 9.5mbd that appeared to be the practical ceiling on Saudi production in the 2000s.
Looking at Iranian and Saudi production side-by-side:
It appears that the Saudi increases are not quite offsetting the Iranian declines so far (though this is complicated by noting that the large increase to belatedly offset Libyan losses has not been removed as Libya has turned back on).