The world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, increased its crude oil exports to 6.582 million barrels per day (bpd) in January 2021, up from 6.495 million bpd in December 2020, data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) showed on Friday.
Total Saudi oil exports, including crude oil and total oil products, rose slightly again month-on-month by 44,000 bpd to 7.75 million bpd in January 2021, according to JODI, which compiles self-reported data from the countries.
Saudi Arabia has been raising its crude oil exports every month since June last year when the Kingdom saw its crude oil exports drop to their lowest on record at just below 5 million bpd, as OPEC’s de facto leader led efforts from the OPEC+ group to withhold a record amount of crude from the market in response to the crash in demand.
This year, Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports are set to dip after January, as the world’s top oil exporter has been cutting its production by an extra 1 million bpd since February on top of its OPEC+ quota, while the only members of the alliance allowed to raise output since February are non-OPEC producers Russia and Kazakhstan.
In January 2021, the Saudis surprised the market with the decision for a unilateral cut of 1 million bpd, while the OPEC+ group was only slightly easing the cuts due to the concessions to Russia and Kazakhstan.
At the latest OPEC+ meeting in early March, Saudi Arabia surprised the market yet again, saying it would keep the extra cut into April, instead of only in February and March as originally planned. OPEC+ decided not to ease the cuts in April—except for a combined 150,000 bpd increase for Russia and Kazakhstan—as the group is looking to tighten the market and keep its powder dry until it sees tangible proof of rebound in global oil demand.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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