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Saudi Arabia increased its crude oil exports to 7.812 million barrels per day in September from 7.305 million bpd in August, the kingdom’s self-reported figures to the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI) showed on Thursday.
According to energy consultant and former Saudi Aramco senior executive, Sadad al-Husseini, as quoted by Reuters:
“The exports figures suggest that they will not give up a critical card that they are going to use in the OPEC negotiations to freeze or reduce OPEC production before they reach such an agreement at the November meeting.”
Saudi Arabia’s exports in August, at 7.31 million bpd, were 310,000 bpd lower than in July, JODI data showed last month.
Since the countries themselves report figures to JODI, Saudi Arabia’s total crude oil production in September, at 10.650 million bpd, is the same as the direct communication figures released by OPEC, and just over the 10.630 million bpd produced in August.
“Although the kingdom's production was steady, domestic use for power generation and desalination went down and exports went up,” Husseini told Reuters, commenting further on the increased exports.
Saudi Arabia is one OPEC member (also the most influential) that insists that producers use the secondary sources figures reported by OPEC when determining who will cut/freeze production and who will cut how much.
Related: Saudi Arabia Issues Warning To Trump: Don’t Stop Saudi Oil Imports
However, the two other biggest OPEC producers, Iran and Iraq, revolt at this idea and say the organization should use their own self-reported figures (which, of course, are higher by a couple of hundred thousand barrels per day). Iran has said it could freeze at 4 million bpd, while Saudi Arabia insists on an Iranian freeze at around 3.7 million bpd. Iraq, apart from balking at the secondary sources production figures, is pleading exemption from cuts because it is fighting ISIS.
Currently, the positions of OPEC’s three biggest producers look too far apart for a deal to go through. Still, the parties have more than a week to continue negotiations if they are eager enough to clinch some sort of feasible agreement.
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.