As a collective, the members of OPEC produced 32.7 billion barrels of oil per day during August, its highest mark since December 2016. The output marked a turnaround from three consecutive months of declines. The cartel’s output schedule has historically moved in lockstep with market demand, with the summer’s production decline coinciding with the price of Brent crude’s stall below $70 per barrel for much of June and July. U.S. producers, which have historically paid less attention to the laws of supply and demand, saw production growth subside slightly in the summer months despite producing a record 11 million barrels per day during August.
Some fear that OPEC production could slide due to U.S.-led sanctions on Iran that would curtail one of its largest contributors. The spread between a barrel of Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate crude grew to $9.80 as of Wednesday afternoon. Since the end of August, WTI rose about $2 per barrel while Brent grew by $4.21.