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Rising Saudi Exports Drive OPEC Shipments Increase In May

The ten OPEC members bound by the OPEC+ production agreement have increased their collective crude oil exports by more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) so far in May, tanker tracker Petro-Logistics said on Friday.

All crude oil exports from OPEC—including Iran, Venezuela, and Libya which are exempted from the OPEC+ pact—have increased by 500,000 bpd so far this month, Petro-Logistics noted in a tweet. However, a surge in Saudi Arabia’s oil exports has driven the exports of the OPEC+ pact participants at OPEC up by over 1 million bpd.  

Yet, the second half of May is expected to see lower Saudi crude oil exports, Petro-Logistics said.

On Monday, the tanker-tracking firm said that OPEC’s oil exports had jumped by 1 million bpd, while the OPEC+ group started easing the production cuts by 350,000 bpd this month.

At the ministerial meeting in early April, the OPEC+ group decided to gradually return over 1 million bpd to the market between May and July.

The OPEC+ collective oil production is set to rise by 350,000 bpd in both May and June and by more than 400,000 bpd in July. Additionally, Saudi Arabia will also gradually ease its extra unilateral cut of 1 million bpd over the course of the next few months, beginning with monthly production increases of 250,000 bpd in both May and June. Overall, OPEC+ is expected to return to the market as much as 2.1 million bpd by July.  

The decision from early April signaled the confidence of the leaders of the OPEC+ alliance that the market would be able to absorb that much supply as vaccination programs are accelerating and people start traveling more. OPEC+ and all analysts expect global oil demand to rebound strongly in the second half of 2021 and nearly reach pre-crisis levels by the end of the fourth quarter this year.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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