Despite this, Riyadh will still be able to achieve fiscal balance, Jadwa says. The OPEC kingpin is currently producing 9.8mn b/d and the big question mark is how low the kingdom will go to balance markets and make way for potentially higher output from Iran and Iraq, the possible return of Libyan oil to markets after the turmoil of 2013 (see p7), and hikes in US-led non-OPEC production (MEES, 20 December 2013). Whether Riyadh will make way for political rival Iran to return to markets in the event energy sanctions are lifted remains to be seen, given the widening rift between the two countries, most recently highlighted by developments in Lebanon (see p15).

“With output from Iraq, Iran, Libya and non-OPEC countries expected to steadily rise over the course of next year, we maintain our view that the kingdom’s oil production will gradually fall in 2014 to 9.4mn b/d,” Jadwa says in its report. This compares with average production of 9.6mn b/d in 2013 and 9.8mn b/d in 2012, Jadwa says. MEES estimates have Saudi Production at 9.75mn b/d for 2012 and 9.66mn b/d for 2013 (see graph 1). (CONTINUED - 753 WORDS)