OPEC data offer glimpse at GDP impact of production cuts

June 7 (UPI) — Angola, Libya and Iran led the pack among OPEC members when comparing GDP figures from before and after the group’s production agreement, data show.

Economists at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries published their annual statistical bulletin on Thursday. Reported as gross domestic product at current market prices, data show total member-state gains of 1.9 percent when comparing 2015 against 2017.

OPEC in late 2016 enacted policies to curtail production in an effort to drain the surplus on the five-year average for crude oil inventories held by the world’s leading economies. Now in its second year, the effort has helped pull crude oil prices from record lows of below $30 per barrel in early 2016.

Brent, the global benchmark for the price of oil, was trading at around $76 per barrel early Thursday. The full-year average from 2015 was around $53.60 per barrel, around $45.13 per barrel in 2016 and $54.74 per barrel for 2017.

For individual member state GDP, Libya led the pack with a 45 percent gain when comparing 2015 figures to those from last year.

Libya is on the rebound in terms of oil production as its national security situation improves. Secondary sources reporting to OPEC economists found an April average rate of 982,000 barrels per day, a marked improvement over the 2015 average.

U.S. energy company Hess Corp reported production from Libyan assets during the first quarter of the year expanded exponentially. First quarter net production of 22,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day marked a 450 percent improvement over the prior year quarter.

Angola takes the No. 2 spot in terms of gains with a 21 percent spike in GDP when comparing 2015 to 2017. It’s the second-largest oil producer in Africa, though a period of lower oil prices and field maturation are curbing its potential. Production for the OPEC member is at an 18-month low.

According to analysis from commodity pricing group S&P Global Platts, however, production from Angola is expected to kick up once production from the deepwater Kaombo field starts this summer. The field could have a peak capacity of around 230,000 barrels per day.

In third is Iran, with a gain of 15 percent. Iran is the third-largest producer in OPEC, though faces significant headwinds given the U.S. decision to back out of a multilateral nuclear deal that offered the Islamic republic sanctions relief.

European parties to the agreement are working to salvage the deal, though the influence of U.S. financial systems could make progress difficult.

OPEC reported total member state exports averaged 24.86 million barrels per day in 2017, about 1.6 percent lower than in 2016.