In May, Saudi Arabia’s oil exports plunged below 7 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time this year as the world’s biggest crude exporter and several other large OPEC+ producers began a collective cut of 1.6 million bpd in May.
Saudi crude exports declined by 388,000 bpd from April to 6.93 million bpd in May, data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI) showed on Monday.
In April, Saudi Arabia’s crude exports slumped by 207,000 bpd from March, to 7.32 million bpd – a five-month low at the time, according to JODI, which compiles self-reported data from many countries.
Saudi Arabia’s crude oil production fell by 502,000 bpd, to 9.96 million bpd in May, according to the data reported today by the International Energy Forum (IEF).
The decline in May was in line with the Saudi pledge to reduce production by 500,000 bpd as part of the OPEC+ cut, which also includes cuts from Russia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, and several other OPEC+ producers.
In early April, the biggest OPEC producers in the Middle East and several other members of the OPEC+ pact announced a total of 1.6 million bpd of fresh production cuts between May and December 2023.
In those OPEC+ cuts, Saudi Arabia said it would reduce its crude oil production by 500,000 bpd and said that the move was “a precautionary measure aimed at supporting the stability of the oil market.”
In a bid to push oil prices higher, or “stabilize the market” as Saudi Arabia and OPEC put it, the Kingdom also announced last month a unilateral cut of 1 million bpd to its production for July, while the OPEC+ producers who had pledged cuts between May and December extended those cuts into 2024. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia said it would extend its unilateral production cut into August, and will be producing around 9 million bpd in both July and August.
Saudi Arabia will lose its status as the largest OPEC+ oil producer to Russia as the Kingdom begins the unilateral cut, with output in July and August at the lowest level in two years. Excluding the deep cuts during the pandemic, a Saudi production of just around 9 million bpd would be the lowest level the world’s top crude oil exporter has pumped since 2011.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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