Average exports from Saudi Arabia for February totaled just under 7 million bpd, 66,000 bpd higher than the January average, according to the Oil Research & Forecasts team at Thomson Reuters.
Total seaborne exports (excluding pipeline flows) averaged 6.76 million bpd for February. This compares favorably to preliminary forecasts for February of 6.70 million bpd.Weekly vessel departure tracking indicates that Saudi exports peaked at around 8.6 million bpd during the month, comprising of around 44 vessel loadings. Further analysis suggests that average Saudi exports have increased steadily since November’s decision to continue OPEC production at 30 million bpd, with Saudi Arabia leading the drive to keep up pressure on market supply. Just over 195.8 million barrels were exported, with customers in Asia retaining a 58% share of exports. Although China consumption has overtaken Japan in recent months, Chinese buying appears to have moderated as strategic reserves fill up. Shakil Begg, Lead Oil Analyst at Thomson Reuters, said “Saudi oil production has been robust so far this year in spite of the sharp drop in oil prices, and our calculations reinforce OPEC statements that production will not be reduced. Estimates further indicate that exports will remain robust.” Meanwhile, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries won’t change policy at its next meeting unless other producers cut first, Qatar’s former energy minister said. OPEC is scheduled to next meet in Vienna in June, seven months after deciding to maintain output levels and protect market share. Production by non-OPEC members such as Mexico rose in February from the month before, US output is forecast to be the highest in three decades and Russian supply climbed to a post-Soviet high in January. “I don’t advise OPEC to have an extraordinary meeting without having a concrete decision” to change policy, Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, who was Qatar’s energy minister from 1992 to 2011, told the Doha Energy Forum on Tuesday. OPEC won’t change policy at its next meeting in June unless non-OPEC producers join in a collective cut, he said. Brent crude, a benchmark for more than half of the world’s oil, has dropped 26 percent since OPEC’s decision on Nov. 27. Futures fell 1.3 percent to $57.75 a barrel by 11:19 a.m. on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. OPEC’s next regular meeting is scheduled for June 5. The Energy Information Administration forecast that US output will increase to 9.3 million barrels a day this year, the most since 1972. Russia produced 10.71 million barrels a day in January and Petroleos Mexicanos, Mexico’s state-controlled oil company, boosted output to 2.33 million barrels a day in February from 2.25 million barrels in January. — Agencies