OPEC crude oil production in December remained below its 30mn b/d output ceiling (in place since January 2012) for the second successive month, despite a rise from November, led by the Gulf duo of Kuwait and the UAE. Nigerian volumes also rebounded somewhat, following a downturn in the violence that is fast defining the Nigerian oil sector.

Overall, MEES estimates put total OPEC supply at 29.83mn b/d in December, up 170,000 b/d from a revised 29.66mn b/d in November (see table). This increase corresponds with latest data from London-based tanker tracker Oil Movements, which put OPEC sailings at around 24.15mn b/d for the four weeks ending 14 December, some 700,000 b/d up on the 23.45 mn b/d estimated one month earlier. Middle East sailings too followed a similar trend, according to the shipping data, increasing by some 600,000 b/d to 17.75mn b/d in the four weeks ending 14 December, from close to 17.15mn b/d in mid-November. (CONTINUED - 957 WORDS)