Crude oil production from Nigeria increased the most last month among its peers in the 14-member Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. OPEC, in its latest Monthly Oil Market Report for January, put Nigeria’s output at 1.797 million barrels per day for December, up from 1.579 million bpd in the previous month, according to direct communication.

The oil group uses secondary sources to monitor its oil output, but also publishes a table of figures submitted by its member countries. The report said Nigeria’s output rose to 1.750 million bpd in December from 1.739 million bpd in November, according to secondary sources.

Kuwait’s output increased by 72,000 barrels to 2.803 million bpd in December, while that of Venezuela rose by 47,000 barrels to 1.511 million bpd. Angola, Africa’s second biggest producer after Nigeria, saw its production rise by 28,000 barrels to 1.445 million bpd in December, while Iraq’s output increased by 10,000 barrels to 4.465 million bpd.

Total OPEC preliminary crude oil production averaged 31.58 million barrels in December, a decrease of 751,000 bpd over the previous month. Crude oil output decreased mostly in Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iran and the United Arab Emirates, according to the report.

In a related development, oil prices dropped by three per cent on Tuesday on signs of the spread of an economic slowdown in China, stoking concerns about global growth and fuel demand. The gloomy news from the world’s second-largest economy and top oil importer pulled down financial markets across Asia, the CNBC reported.

International Brent crude futures were down $1.97, or 3.1 per cent, at $60.77 per barrel at 10:08 a.m. ET (1508 GMT), down 88 cents or 1.4 per cent. the United States West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell by $1.78, or 3.3 per cent, to $52.02 per barrel.

China reported the lowest annual economic growth in nearly 30 years on Monday and its state planner warned on Tuesday that falling factory orders pointed to a further drop in activity and more job losses.

While China’s oil imports have so far defied the economic slowdown, hitting a record above 10 million bpd in late 2018, many analysts believe that the country has reached peak energy growth, with its thirst set to wane.

The International Monetary Fund on Monday trimmed its 2019 global growth forecast slightly to 3.5 per cent from 3.7 per cent in last October’s outlook. “Does that mean a global recession is around the corner? No,” IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “But the risk of a sharper decline in global growth has certainly increased.”

Despite the darkening outlook, oil prices have gained some support from supply cuts by the OPEC since the beginning of this month.


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