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Is Saudi Arabia Misleading The Oil Market?

Refinery

Friday August 10, 2018

In the latest edition of the Numbers Report, we’ll take a look at some of the most interesting figures put out this week in the energy sector. Each week we’ll dig into some data and provide a bit of explanation on what drives the numbers.

Let’s take a look.

1. How much oil is Saudi Arabia producing?

(Click to enlarge)

- There has been a sudden discrepancy in the oil production figures for Saudi Arabia from different sources, muddling the global supply picture.
- The Wall Street Journal reports that Saudi Arabia has “pressed independent energy analysts to alter their estimates of its oil production.” Riyadh told OPEC that it cut oil production in July to 10.29 million barrels per day (mb/d), but the EIA and independent analysts say that Saudi Arabia actually increased output. S&P Global Platts puts Saudi output at 10.6 mb/d.
- The difference in various estimates amounts to around 0.5 mb/d.
- If Saudi Arabia is intentionally misleading the market in order to persuade fellow OPEC members that it is not overproducing, it could scramble the market.
- “The Saudis have been giving the impression they know what they are doing...They could lose credibility,” said John Hall, chairman of U.K. consultancy Alfa Energy. “It could increase volatility” in prices.

2. Refiners begin cutting fuel oil inventories

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