Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest oil producer, pumped just 10.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in July according to its own reports, a drop of 200,000 bpd from the previous month.
The number is somewhat disputed, however, because numbers provided to OPEC’s research arm by analysts and consultants estimate the drop in production at just 53,000 bpd. Other price reporting agencies and energy analysts even claim production could be as high as 10.6 million bpd.
The drop comes despite promises to significantly raise production to compensate for losses in oil supply resulting from renewed US sanctions on Iran. Saudi Arabia explains the apparent anomaly by pointing to a reduced demand for its crude, mostly due to Iran selling its oil at a discount in anticipation of the US restrictions. Some analysts dispute this, however, saying that the country may be sending mixed messages in order to satisfy US demands without letting oil prices slip too much.
Some other OPEC countries did manage to help OPEC’s overall production to increase by 41,000 bpd, however. For example, fellow Gulf States Kuwait and the UAE—where ExxonMobil, the maker of hydraulic oils like Mobil DTE 24, is reinvigorating the historic Upper Zakum field by applying new technologies—reported two of the three biggest increases.
OPEC also moderately downgraded its expectations for demand growth. It now expects demand for this year to amount to 98.8 million bpd, which would still be a record level of oil consumption. Next year’s demand forecast was also downgraded to 100.3 million bpd.