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Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports hit a five-month high in June at nearly 6 million barrels per day (bpd) as the world’s top oil exporter, and the entire OPEC+ group continued to ease the cuts amid recovering global demand.
Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports in June rose for a second consecutive month to reach 5.965 million bpd, data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) showed on Thursday.
That’s the highest export volume since January 2021 and compares with 5.649 million bpd in crude oil exports for May 2021, according to JODI, which compiles self-reported data from the countries.
The last time the Saudis exported more than 6 million bpd was in January this year when the Kingdom’s crude exports hit 6.582 million bpd.
But it was in January 2021 when the Saudis surprised the market with the decision for a unilateral cut of 1 million bpd, while the OPEC+ group was only slightly easing the cuts due to the concessions to Russia and Kazakhstan.
At the following OPEC+ meeting in early March, Saudi Arabia surprised the market yet again, saying it would keep the extra cut into April instead of only in February and March as originally planned. OPEC+ decided not to ease the cuts in April—except for a combined 150,000 bpd increase for Russia and Kazakhstan—as the group was looking to tighten the market and keep its powder dry until it sees tangible proof of rebound in global oil demand.
Starting this month, OPEC+ plans to add 400,000 bpd of supply every month until all 5.8 million bpd remaining cuts are restored.
Yet, in view of the faltering demand growth with soaring Delta variant cases in many major economies, including in the world’s top oil importer China, analysts increasingly believe that OPEC+ may have to recalibrate the pace of the easing of the cuts at some point over the next few months. The group’s regular monthly meeting is scheduled to take place on September 1.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.