Oil exporters and analysts are becoming confident that OPEC should be able to escape the difficulties it experienced in the first three months of 1994.

Analysts estimate that OPEC crude oil production averaged 24.8 million barrels a day (b/d) in May, modestly higher than in April. Combined production compares with OPEC’s output ceiling of 24.5 million b/d.

The rise in output in May was mainly due to higher Iranian production, which is estimated to have exceeded 3.5 million b/d in the month. Its allocation is 3.6 million b/d. Venezuela and Iraq are estimated to have produced about 100,000 b/d each more than their allocations.

OPEC secretary-general Dr Subroto said in an interview with Reuters on 3 June that the oil exporters’ organisation should overcome its problems if it can keep output steady until the end of 1994. ‘The problem of overproduction is no longer an issue because of the expected rise in demand,’ he was quoted as saying. ‘World oil demand will be about 1 million b/d higher next year than this.’ He said that world oil consumption is now about 64.9 million b/d.

Subroto said that demand for OPEC oil will rise through the rest of 1994, and could be 26 million b/d in the fourth quarter. OPEC is to hold its twice a year ministerial meeting in Vienna on 15 June.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast that OECD crude oil demand will be 39.7 million b/d for 1994 as a whole. This compares with 39.1 million b/d in 1993.