Oil output by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries rose in May to the highest level since 2008 as Saudi Arabia pumped crude at the fastest pace in at least 23 years, a Bloomberg survey showed.
OPEC production gained 20,000 barrels to an average 31.595 million barrels a day in May from a revised 31.575 million in April, according to the survey of oil companies, producers and analysts. Output increased to the highest level since October 2008. The April total was revised 170,000 barrels a day higher.
Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, bolstered output by 80,000 barrels to 9.9 million barrels a day in May, the highest level since at least January 1989, based on monthly data compiled by Bloomberg.
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on May 13 in Adelaide, Australia, that he wanted to see the Brent crude contract drop to $100 a barrel. Brent oil for July settlement decreased $1.60, or 1.6 percent, to $101.87 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was the lowest close since Oct. 4.
“The Saudis are making it abundantly clear that they will keep the market well supplied,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. “They wanted to see prices fall, and that’s finally taking place.”