OPEC November Production Data

by: Ron Patterson

All the below OPEC data is from the latest OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report. The data is in thousand barrels per day and is through November 2018.

OPEC 15 was down 11,000 barrels per day in November but that was after October production was revised upward by 67,000 bpd.

OPEC production was 32,965,000 barrels per day in November. The revised October numbers, 32,976,000 was an all-time high.

Above are the major revisions. All other revisions were in the low-single digits.

Qatar will be leaving OPEC at the end of the year.

Saudi Arabia reached an all-time high of 11,016,000 barrels per day in November. They are positioning for cuts beginning in January.

The UAE also reached a new all-time high in November.

And the Venezuelan decline continues. When will they drop below one million bpd? May?

World oil supply, (total liquids), has finally topped 100 million barrels per day according to the OPEC Secretariat.

If Russia does cut 400,000 bpd, they will be right back to where they were from May 2017 through May 2018. The Russian data is through November 2018.

OPEC + Russia peaked, so far, in 2016. The 12-month average peaked in 2017.

World oil production outside the USA has very likely already peaked. The data for the two charts below is through August 2018.

World less USA peaked, so far, in 2016 while the 12-month average peaked in 2017.

And it is far more likely that Non-OPEC less USA peaked in 2015. Even the recent increase from Russia will make little difference. Monthly production is down 1,511,000 bpd from the peak while the 12-month average is down 765,000 bpd from the peak.

The future of US Shale Oil Production

USA conventional oil peaked in 1970. It is US shale oil that's keeping peak crude oil at bay.

The data I use below is from the EIA's Drilling Productivity Report. Their data is always projected a few months ahead but their historical data is accurate. Well it differs in a few percentage points from the data issued by the EIA's Monthly Report. Example below:

Notice that the DPR Bakken data, through August, is always exactly 3.04% higher than their Monthly Report. Their Eagle Ford data DPR averages about 8.5% higher. I think the difference is the DPR includes all oil in the basin, conventional + shale. However, below I use the Drilling Productivity Report data because they give the monthly decline rate while the Monthly Report does not.

The above data is from the EIA's Drilling Productivity Report and is through December 2018. Obviously, the last few months are estimates. It is for all shale basins and is in barrels per day.

Definition: Legacy Decline. The total decline in production of all wells other than new wells drilled this month, or the last month in which data is posted.

This is the decline rate the EIA is predicting for December 2018. The decline rate for total shale production is 6.78%. This is even more alarming when one considers that the DPR also includes all conventional oil in these basins.

The percentage decline rate increased as production increased but seemed to top out at about 6.5 percent per month.

Since legacy decline is holding at about 6.5 percent, then the more oil produced means more decline in production. Currently, legacy decline is just above 500,000 barrels per month. This means that if production is to be increased by 100,000 barrels per month then new wells must produce 600,000 barrels per month of new oil.

The above blue line is production per month for all new wells, averaged for 12 months. The red line is total net increase in US shale production per month, also averaged for 12 months.

The more shale production is increased, the more production must be increased just to stay in the same place. Though there may be new oil produced in shale basins for two or more decades, I don't think new well production can stay ahead of legacy decline for more than a couple of years.