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Saudi Arabia’s July Oil Exports Reach Record as Local Use Eases

  • Kingdom ships 7.622 million barrels a day in July: JODI
  • Exports gain as local direct burning of crude decreases

Saudi Arabia’s oil exports climbed in July to a record level for that month, as the kingdom curbed the amount of crude it burns to generate energy domestically, according to the Joint Oil Data Initiative.

The world’s biggest oil producer raised shipments by 166,000 barrels a day to 7.622 million a day in July compared with the previous month, according to Riyadh-based JODI, whose records began in 2002. It reduced the amount of crude directly used for power generation by 7,000 barrels a day to 697,000 a day, the lowest for the time of year since 2010.

Saudi Arabia has been boosting natural gas output to limit the direct burning of crude, which peaks in the summer months with surging use of air conditioning. The ramp-up of output from the Wasit natural gas plant should decrease the direct use of crude by 100,000 barrels a day this year, the International Energy Agency predicted in July. The July figure is 151,000 barrels a day lower than a year earlier, JODI data show.

Saudi Arabia’s rising exports also illustrate its resolve to maintain its share of world markets, even as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries prepares to meet in Algeria next week for discussions on how to stabilize the market. Oil prices remain capped below $50 a barrel as world markets contend with a third year of over-supply.

OPEC’s most powerful member increased production by 123,000 barrels a day to a record 10.673 million a day, according to JODI. The all-time high in production was already reported in the kingdom’s data submissions to OPEC.

Combined exports of crude and refined products were the highest since February, with the increase in crude sales making up for a decline in shipments of fuels. Product exports slipped to 1.171 million barrels a day in July from 1.178 million a day in June, the data show.

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