Saudi Arabia surpassed Russia as the OPEC+ group's largest crude oil producer in December, beating the non-OPEC leader that has struggled to ramp up output as the bloc boosts supplies in monthly increments, according to Energy Intelligence Group on Tuesday.
Since April 2020, Russia and Saudi Arabia have had equal output caps under an agreement between OPEC+ members, but Russia has constantly out-produced the Saudis, often surpassing the pact's quota, Anadolu News Agency reports.
Saudi Arabia produced 10.01 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, up 104,000 bpd from November, while Russia only increased output by 7,000 bpd to just under 9.95 million bpd.
The 19 members subject to quotas produced 37.59 million bpd in December, falling short of the target 38.34 million bpd by around 750,000 bpd, according to data released by the group after their last meeting earlier this month.
Energy Intelligence calculated that the alliance is over two months behind schedule on the monthly hikes of 400,000 bpd that it approved last summer as countries fall short of their quotas.
"To put it in different terms, the amount of oil the alliance cranked out in December should have been achieved in October," it said, warning that the gap between targeted and realised output could worsen in January-February, as the intended monthly increases remain in place while several members struggle to meet them.
Nigeria and Angola, the group's two biggest under-producers, failed their December targets by a combined 670,000 bpd, accounting for about 90 per cent of the alliance's shortfall.