Saudi Arabia pumped 10.1 million bpd of crude in February, a Saudi official told S&P Global Platts on Friday, in yet another sign that OPEC’s largest producer and de facto leader is cutting much deeper than it had pledged under the OPEC+ production deal that began in January.
Under the OPEC/non-OPEC deal for a total of 1.2 million bpd cuts between January and June, Saudi Arabia’s share is a cut of 322,000 bpd from the October level of 10.633 million, to reduce output to 10.311 million bpd.
At the end of January, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told Bloomberg that Saudi Arabia’s February crude oil production would likely be close to 10.1 million bpd, down from around 10.2 million bpd for January.
In an interview with the Financial Times in February, al-Falih said that the Saudis would further cut production to around 9.8 million bpd in March, some 500,000 bpd below the commitment in the OPEC+ deal. Al-Falih also said that Saudi Arabia would be cutting its crude oil exports to near 6.9 million bpd in March, slashed from 8.2 million bpd just three-four months ago.
In their push to rebalance the oil market and firm up oil prices, the Saudis are also significantly reducing exports to the most transparently reported oil market, the United States. Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports to the U.S. are falling sharply, with shipments standing at just 1.6 million barrels near the end of February, according to U.S. customs data compiled by Bloomberg, versus 5.75 million barrels a year ago. Related: Is This As Good As It Gets For Oil?
For the whole of January, Saudi Arabia exported just 2.69 million barrels of crude to the United States.
Official figures by OPEC and its secondary sources in the Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) showed that total OPEC production in January—the start of the new cuts—dropped by 797,000 bpd to average 30.81 million bpd. Saudi Arabia slashed production by 350,000 bpd from December to 10.213 million bpd in January, and its Arab Gulf allies Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also cut output substantially.
OPEC will release its figures for the February production next Thursday, March 14.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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