OPEC compensates Iran’s oil loss, expects demand for crude to fall in 2019

Saudi Energy Minister Khaled al-Faleh (L) and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak attend a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC members to assess compliance with production cuts and to discuss potential long-term cooperation, in Jeddah on April 20, 2018. - Saudi Arabia hopes to bring Russia into the fold of an expanded club of global oil giants to sustain a stable market, leaving OPEC's role in question, analysts say. (Photo by Amer HILABI / AFP) (Photo credit should read AMER HILABI/AFP/Getty Images)

OPEC said on Wednesday it had offset a drop in Iranian exports as US sanctions on Tehran resumed and lowered its demand for oil in 2019, highlighting the challenge it faces to prevent supply oversupply even after last week’s decision to cut output.

In a monthly report, OPEC said its oil production fell only 11,000 bpd on a monthly basis to 32.97 million bpd in November, despite US President Donald Trump’s reinstatement of sanctions on Iran, while Saudi Arabia pumped oil at a record rate.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said demand for its oil in 2019 would drop to 31.44 million barrels per day (bpd), less than 100,000 barrels from its forecast last month, as competitors pump more crude and dampen the economy’s slowing demand growth.

OPEC and its allies agreed last week to return to production cuts in 2019, pledging to cut production by 1.2 million barrel per day.