Saudis Cut March Crude Exports as West Africans Boost Shipments

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Venezuela reduced crude oil exports in March from the previous month while West African members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries increased shipments, according to official data.

OPEC’s biggest producer, Saudi Arabia, shipped 7.42 million barrels a day, down 30,000 barrels a day from February, figures published today by the Joint Organisations Data Initiative showed. The kingdom kept its output little changed at 9.14 million barrels a day in March, or 10,000 barrels less than in the previous month, according to the data posted on the initiative’s website.

Kuwait, OPEC’s fourth-largest producer, trimmed March exports by 6 percent to 1.85 million barrels a day, and the Persian Gulf state shipped less crude than in any month since July 2011, statistics from the initiative known as JODI showed. Venezuelan exports dropped to the lowest level in a year at 1.55 million barrels a day, the data showed.

Angola and Nigeria both increased shipments in March, with Angola exporting 1.74 million barrels a day, up from 1.59 million, to the highest in three years, according to the data. Nigeria exported 2.04 million barrels a day, up from 1.87 million in February, the figured showed.

Demand for crude from OPEC, which supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil, will average 29.8 million barrels a day in 2013, the group estimated in its monthly oil report published on May 10. OPEC forecast a decrease of 400,000 barrels a day from last year, while making an upward adjustment of 100,000 barrels a day from its previous estimate in April.

Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, shipped 2.42 million barrels a day in March, the data showed. The country didn’t submit comparative data for February. Iran, Libya and the United Arab Emirates didn’t provide data for March.

JODI, supervised by the Riyadh-based International Energy Forum, uses statistics supplied by national governments to compile data on imports, exports and output for oil-producing and consuming nations. The data include crude oil and condensates and exclude natural-gas liquids.

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