Kuwait has increased its oil production to 2.9 million barrels a day (b/d) since the beginning of September, up about 100,000 b/d from August, to compensate for shortages in the global crude market.

“We have been producing 2.9 million b/d at least for the past 10 days. We are heading towards 3.0 million b/d,” says Oil Minister Mohammad al-Busairi, the local Kuwait Times reports.

As a member of 12 country oil producers’ group, Opec, Kuwait is normally bound by production quotas set at about 2.2 million b/d. Along with several other member states, Kuwait has increased production to meet demand and stabilise crude oil prices (MEED 5:9:11).

“If Kuwait and Saudi Arabia had not raised their production in the past four to five months, oil prices would have been at a totally different [higher] level,” says Al-Busairi.

The Oil Minister estimates there will be extra demand of between 1.5-2.0 million b/d in the remainder of the year. Opec, however, lowered its global oil demand forecast for both 2011 and 2012 on the back of weaker than expected economic performance in the US and slower demand from China and India.

In its September monthly report, Opec forecast 2011 oil demand at 87.99 million b/d, down from the August forecast of 88.14 million b/d. Demand in 2012 is expected to average 89.26 million b/d, down from 89.44 million b/d. This is still up 1.27 million b/d on 2010, however.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $88.19 a barrel on 12 September, while Europe’s Brent sold $24.52 higher at $112.71 a barrel.