Gulf oil industry sources said Monday that February estimates for OPEC crude output had been raised by more than 500,000 barrels a day in the last two weeks.
World oil prices fell almost one U.S. dollar last week on market perceptions of oversupply. Prices could be forced lower by the seasonal drop in demand, as the Northern Hemisphere warms in spring.
The International Energy Agency estimated that the 13 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 23.2 million barrels a day in February. But the Nicosia-based oil industry newsletter Middle East Economic Survey said Monday that OPEC crude production averaged nearly 24 million barrels daily.
The oil industry sources said high output was continuing in March, at around February levels. Tanker brokers in London said last week that freight rates from the Gulf would rise sharply in March, as operators mop up almost all available capacity.
The sources said revised February output estimates stemmed from difficulties in assessing levels for Libya, Iran and Iraq.