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OPEC Output Increase Reflects Saudi Effort to Stay in Control

From Associated Press

OPEC production rose to 23.5 million barrels a day in August, mainly because of a continuing increase in Saudi Arabian output, the Middle East Economic Survey reported Monday.

The Saudis’ move is apparently aimed at preserving their dominance of the 13-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and bolstering their strategy of keeping oil prices low to maintain long-term demand.

This will put the Saudis at odds with OPEC hawks, who want higher prices, when the organization’s oil ministers meet Sept. 24 in Geneva to set production ceilings.

The respected oil industry newsletter, published in Nicosia, said most of the 200,000-barrel-a-day increase in August compared to July production levels came from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, with Kuwait resuming production for the first time since the Iraqi invasion Aug. 2 last year.

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Kuwait is producing about 160,000 barrels a day, a fraction of its pre-invasion output of 1.5 million barrels daily.

Output is expected to rise to about 200,000 barrels a day by year-end as damaged oil fields and refineries are repaired.


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