Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude oil exporter, saw its crude exports rise in February to the highest level since the April 2020 month-long price war with OPEC+ ally Russia.
In February, the Saudis exported 7.307 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude to international markets, data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) showed on Monday. That’s up from 6.996 million bpd in crude exports in January 2022 and the highest level of crude the Kingdom has shipped since April 2020, according to JODI, which compiles self-reported data from the countries.
Saudi crude oil exports topped the 7-million-bpd mark for the first time since the start of the pandemic and the price war with Russia in March and early April 2020. Back then, the Saudis flooded the market with oil after failing to initially agree on a response to the plunge in global oil demand as countries imposed lockdowns to fight COVID.
Saudi Arabia has been raising its crude oil production by over 100,000 bpd each month under the OPEC+ deal for a total of 400,000-bpd increase from all members of the pact. In the past few months leading to February 2022, Saudi Arabia had been raising slightly its crude exports each month. But the increase between January and February was more than 300,000 bpd, suggesting that the Kingdom drew more crude from elsewhere to export much more than its monthly increase in crude production. The high international crude oil prices and recovering demand probably also played a role in the higher Saudi crude exports in February.
Saudi crude oil and oil products closing stocks in February rose by 316,000 bpd to 235.8 million barrels. Crude-only stocks increased to 137.149 million barrels in February from 133.742 million barrels in January but were still close to multi-year lows seen in recent months. Direct use in burning oil for power slumped to 291,000 bpd in February from 402,000 bpd in January, according to the JODI data.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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