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Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports to the United States fell to the lowest in 35 years in October, averaging less than 100,000 bpd, Bloomberg reported, citing preliminary and historical data from the Energy Information Administration.
In the week to November 27 alone, the volume of Saudi oil shipments to the U.S. fell to as little as 73,000 bpd.
The average daily volume for October beat another low, recorded for August, at 177,000 bpd, as OPEC’s top producer and exporter tried to tighten crude oil supply amid plummeting prices.
To compare, the Saudis shipped as much as 1.3 million bpd to the United States in April, when they sent a fleet of supertankers to flood the U.S. market with oil during the price war with Russia at the end of March and early April. Back in April, the tanker fleet from Saudi Arabia coincided with the massive oil demand loss and threatened to overflow U.S. storage capacity.
After that, however, Saudi Arabia changed tack and started tightening exports to the U.S. while raising shipments to China. From January to November this year, Saudi oil exports to China averaged 1.6 to 1.7 million bpd as the Kingdom vied with Russia for the title of top crude oil supplier to the world’s largest importer of the commodity.
U.S. total oil imports, meanwhile, have been on the decline, too. For the four weeks to November 27, according to the EIA, these averaged 5 million bpd, down by 10.5 percent on a year ago. Canada remained the biggest foreign supplier of crude to the U.S., with Saudi Arabia ranking third, after Mexico.
Saudi Arabia is currently negotiating the future of oil production cuts with OPEC+, implemented in order to arrest the slide of oil prices caused by the price war and the coronavirus pandemic.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.