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Energy Minister: Saudi Arabia Is Boosting Oil Production

Saudi Arabia will pump 10.7 million bpd of oil in October and will slightly raise this level in November, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said at an energy forum in Moscow on Wednesday.

The comments by the key oilman in OPEC’s largest producer and exporter come just a few days after Brent Crude prices hit earlier this week $85 a barrel—a four-year high—amid concerns that OPEC and allies are not doing enough to offset declining Iranian oil exports and plunging Venezuelan production.

Saudi Arabia is currently pumping 10.7 million bpd, al-Falih said today. This is just shy of the Kingdom’s all-time high production of 10.72 million bpd, set in November 2016, just before OPEC and its Russia-led non-OPEC allies started the production cut deal in January 2017.

Asked about the Saudi plans for November production, when the U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil return, al-Falih said that the November output would be “slightly higher” from the October level, which he expects to average 10.7 million bpd.

According to the monthly Reuters survey of OPEC supply, Saudi Arabia pumped 10.53 million bpd in September, up by 50,000 bpd from August. OPEC’s secondary sources and the Saudi self-reported production put Saudi Arabia’s oil production in August at 10.4 million bpd. OPEC will release the September production figures next week.

Related: Citi: Brent-WTI Spread Could Widen To 5-Year High

At the Russian energy forum today, the Saudi minister also praised the “very healthy” oil market fundamentals and dismissed the criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump who has called out OPEC several times, blaming the cartel for the high oil prices.

Saudi Arabia is also in weekly communication with Russia to discuss the global oil market and the oil production policy, al-Falih said.

Earlier today, Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia and Russia had agreed to a private deal last month to quietly increase production between September and December to rein in the rising oil prices, allegedly keeping the United States in the loop about their plans.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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