OPEC output eased somewhat in December ahead of a 1.2mn b/d slump in the projected demand for OPEC crude this quarter, initial MEES estimates show. But this December’s downward adjustment owed less to collective production discipline than to a fall in Iraqi output, as an export cut-off from the Iraq’s Kurdish north combined with ominous technical hitches at newly-installed Single Point Mooring buoy (SPMs) export infrastructure newly in the south to push Iraqi output to a six-month low.

Overall, output this year surged over 1.5mn b/d compared to 2011, despite stagnant projections for the Call on OPEC – OPEC itself puts 2012 demand for its crude at 30.12mn b/d compared to 30.07mn b/d the previous year. And with average 2012 basket prices of $109.45/B having outperformed 2011’s $107.46/B, 2012 will eclipse the producer group’s 2011’s record $1 trillion oil revenue bonanza. (CONTINUED - 827 WORDS)