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OPEC Middle East Oil Flows Surged in April as Saudis Opened Taps

  • Crude and condensate shipments rose by 2 million barrels a day
  • Record volume sent to China as refineries emerge from lockdown
An oil tanker anchored in the Pacific Ocean.
Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Crude supplies from OPEC’s Middle East exporters, excluding Iran, soared in April to their highest level since at least January 2017. The surge came as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates abandoned restraint and boosted production after OPEC and its allies failed to agree on deepening output cuts in early March.

Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait and the U.A.E., which together account for about 70% of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ entire production, together shipped an average of 18.9 million barrels a day of crude and condensate last month, tanker-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg show. That was an increase of 2 million barrels a day from revised March levels.