Oil production in the non-Communist world is back where it was at its peak in 1979, before soaring prices pinched demand and created a glut, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.
"In November, world oil supplies outside the centrally planned economies are estimated at 54.7 million barrels per day . . . the highest recorded since the third quarter of 1979," the West's energy watchdog said in its monthly oil report.
Oil output by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in November was estimated by the IEA at 23.3 million barrels daily, compared to 30 million a day in 1979.
OPEC's market share has dwindled because of the way high prices in the "oil shocks" of the 1970s stampeded the West into finding sources of oil outside OPEC control.
But senior OPEC ministers say that production from outside the 13-nation group is reaching a plateau and that the world will in the future depend on OPEC, particularly the Persian Gulf states, for extra barrels.
The IEA reckoned non-Communist world oil demand in 1989 at 51.8 million barrels a day. It predicted that it would rise by only 1.1 million barrels in the first nine months of 1990.