London, England – The thirteen members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pumped an average 32.22 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil in March, a decrease of 110,000 bpd from February. The figures come from a report by energy information firm Platts released on Tuesday.

“Though OPEC’s output fell in March, much of the decline appears to be related more to maintenance work in Nigeria and Venezuela than to any shift in philosophy on the part of the group,” said John Kingston, Platts global director of oil. “Indeed, despite the drop in output, OPEC-12 pumped well over its production target, showing members are more than happy to take advantage of record high prices.”

Excluding Iraq, the twelve members bound by output agreements pumped an average 29.85 million bpd in March, which was 80,000 bpd lower than the 29.93 million bpd pumped in February. Despite the dip in output, the March total was 177,000 bpd higher than the collective production target of 29.673 million bpd. Decreases in Iraqi, Venezuelan and Nigerian production were partly offset by increases from Iran, Ecuador and Qatar.

OPEC ministers met in February and March and decided that on both occasions there was no shortage of crude oil on world markets, despite prices in excess of US$100 per barrel. The next formal meeting is scheduled for early September. The group’s president, Algerian oil minister Chakib Khelil, said that he believed high oil prices are “here to stay.”

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