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Saudis To Keep April Oil Exports Below 7 Million Bpd

Saudi Arabia will keep its crude exports below 7 million bpd in April as it stays committed to draw down excess global inventories and boost oil prices, according to the Saudi energy ministry.

The Saudis plan to continue pumping below 10 million bpd next month, again overcomplying with their pledge to not exceed the ceiling of 10.058 million bpd, according to a statement by the energy ministry, as carried by Reuters.

“Despite nominations coming in at 100,000 barrels a day, higher than the previous month, allocations were maintained on par with their March levels,” the ministry said.

For March, Saudi Arabia had pledged to cut additional 100,000 bpd of its oil production and keep its exports below 7 million bpd in a bid to help clear the global oversupply and counteract the oil market volatility in February. The Saudi energy ministry said back in February that oil exports would continue to be below 7 million bpd in March, despite the 400,000-bpd SAMREF refinery shutting down for planned maintenance.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia was said to be planning to keep the low level of its crude oil exports in the first quarter this year at around 7 million bpd, despite planned refinery shutdowns for maintenance at home.

Today, a spokesman for the Saudi energy ministry told Reuters that Saudi Arabia and the other countries part of the production cut deal “remain committed to pursuing the common objective of restoring inventories back to their normal levels.”

The reiterated Saudi commitment to firmly stick to the agreement comes days after reports that Saudi Arabia and Iran are at odds over the oil price OPEC should be targeting with the cuts, potentially jeopardizing the deal that is currently set to expire at the end of 2018. According to The Wall Street Journal, Iran insists that $60 a barrel is the optimal price to keep U.S. shale from flooding the market more, while Saudi Arabia is reportedly targeting $70 per barrel oil to balance the budget and boost the valuation of Saudi Aramco ahead of its IPO.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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