OPEC oil output set to hit three-year high in August

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OPEC oil output is expected to rise in August to its highest in almost three years due to higher Nigerian exports and smaller increases from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers, a Reuters survey found on Tuesday.

Supply from all 12 members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected to average 30.15 million barrels per day (bpd) this month, up from 30.07 million bpd in July, the survey of sources at oil companies, OPEC officials and analysts found.

The survey indicates no sign, yet, that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries are cutting back on the extra supplies they provided to help cover the loss of Libyan output. August's total is expected to be OPEC's highest since October 2008 based on Reuters surveys.

OPEC's Gulf members boosted supplies unilaterally after African countries, Iran and Venezuela blocked a Saudi-led proposal to increase output targets at OPEC's last meeting, which was held on June 8.

Output is expected to decline this month in countries including Angola, Iran, Libya and Iraq, the survey found.

OPEC has not officially changed its output policy since cutting output by a record 4.2 million bpd in December 2008 to 24.84 million bpd for 11 members, all except Iraq, to combat falling prices and a collapse in demand.

Since their June meeting, OPEC officials have acknowledged the target is no longer valid as actual supply is so much higher.

OPEC does not provide timely official production figures so the oil industry relies on outside supply estimates from news agencies, consulting firms and government organisations.

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