Crude exports rise again as Saudi Arabia draws on inventories

The kingdom exported 6.582 million b/d in January, according to JODI data released March 18, an increase of 87,000 b/d from December. It was the seventh straight month that shipments have risen since a historic low of 4.98 million b/d in June when stringent OPEC+ production cuts were in effect.

Londo n - Saudi Arabia drew again on its crude stockpiles to boost exports in January, even with its OPEC+ production quota easing, the latest figures from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative showed.

The kingdom exported 6.582 million b/d in January, according to JODI data released March 18, an increase of 87,000 b/d from December. It was the seventh straight month that shipments have risen since a historic low of 4.98 million b/d in June when stringent OPEC+ production cuts were in effect.

Those cuts are being gradually tapered, though Saudi Arabia has pledged an extra unilateral 1 million b/d production cut for February, March and April to offset potential market weakness, which should cause a significant drop in exports those months. Saudi Arabia pumped 9.103 million b/d in January, the JODI data showed, up from 8.980 million b/d in December.

Under the OPEC+ accord, Saudi Arabia’s output quota was 9.119 million b/d in January, compared to 8.990 million b/d in December. With domestic refinery runs holding relatively steady at 2.343 million b/d in the month, and consumption for power generation also largely flat at 269,000 b/d, Saudi Arabia’s crude inventories fell in January to their lowest since JODI began compiling the figures in January 2002.

Stocks ended the month at 137.207 million barrels, down from 140.016 million at the end of December, according to JODI. Combining exports, refinery intake and direct-use figures showed Saudi Arabia supplied 9.194 million b/d to the market, up from 9.090 million b/d in January.

The country’s oil product exports, including LPG, naphtha, motor and aviation fuels, kerosene and diesel, dropped to 1.170 million b/d in January from 1.213 million b/d in December. The JODI database is maintained by the Riyadh-based International Energy Forum.

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