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Saudi Oil Exports Rose In July From Record Lows

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Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, saw its crude oil exports rise to 5.734 million barrels per day (bpd) in July, up from a historic low of below 5 million bpd for June, when OPEC’s de facto leader slashed for a month its oil production by an additional 1 million bpd on top of its share of cuts in response to the crash in demand.

According to data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) database, which collects self-reported figures from 114 countries, Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports in July rose to 5.734 million bpd from the 4.98 million bpd exported in June, which was the lowest in the data series going back to 2002.  

In June, Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports plunged by 17.3 percent compared to May, as the world’s biggest oil exporter led efforts from the OPEC+ group to withhold a record amount of crude from the market crushed by weak demand in the pandemic.

Since March this year, Saudi crude oil exports have diverged a lot from the latest five-year range, jumping to more than 10 million bpd in April, when the Kingdom made good on its promise to flood the market with oil after the collapse of the previous OPEC+ deal. Saudi Arabia exported a record 10.237 million bpd in April 2020, up from 7.391 million bpd in March, JODI data showed earlier this year.

In May, Saudi crude oil exports plunged to 6.02 million bpd from more than 10 million bpd in the previous month, after OPEC+ reached a new deal to prop up the market and erase the glut that was building while global demand was crashing by 20 million bpd in April.  

June was also the month in which Saudi Arabia voluntarily slashed its oil production by an additional 1 million bpd on top of the 2.5 million bpd it was supposed to cut.

While Saudi Arabia continues to stick to its share of the cuts, it expressed on Thursday its fury with the laggards in OPEC+ deal, with Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, not mincing words when he said at the opening of the OPEC+ panel meeting that “attempts to outsmart the market will not succeed and are counterproductive when we have the eyes, and the technology, of the world upon us.”

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