Increases totalling 170,000 b/d from Angola, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Venezuela were partly offset by decreases totalling 110,000 b/d from Libya and Nigeria, the latter's production dropping by 100,000 b/d to 1.98 million b/d in February.
"With the price of oil at what many view to be a sweet spot now in the upper $70 to $80 per barrel range, OPEC has little appetite or need to make any changes at its upcoming March 17 meeting," said John Kingston, Platts director of news. "The one number that jumps out from the Platts survey is the drop of 100,000 b/d in output from Nigeria, where a fragile peace pact in the Niger Delta appears to be unravelling. After several months of both rising production and rising optimism that the worst was behind the country, the output drop in February looks like a discouraging setback."
The February estimates leave the OPEC-11 overproducing its ceiling by 1.905 million b/d, slightly increasing its rate of compliance to 54.64% from January's 54.4%.
Compliance with the 4.2 million b/d of cuts agreed in late 2008 peaked at close to 82% in March last year but has been declining since last April alongside a broad firming of oil prices.
OPEC ministers meet in Vienna on March 17 to review the current production agreement which has been in effect since January 2009.
That agreement has been rubber-stamped at several meetings over the past year and, given remarks made by several ministers in recent weeks, looks set to be renewed yet again at next week's meeting.
International crude benchmarks are currently trading around the higher end of the $70-$80/barrel (/b) range that Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali Naimi has described as "ideal" and which OPEC appears to have adopted as an unofficial target. For 2010 to date, the group's basket of crudes has averaged $74.77/b.