Saudi oil exports hit 1.59 bn barrels in 7 months

Saudi Arabia exported nearly 1.59 billion barrels of crude oil in the last seven months worth SR 657.2 billion, an economic expert said.

According to Fahad bin Jumaa, local consumption stood at 535.6 million barrels, or 25 percent of total production.

He said Saudi Arabia’s oil production is still running within the range of 10 million barrels per day (bpd) based on the improved price of Arabian Light crude in July compared to June and coupled with the continued decline of Iran’s oil production to 3.2 million bpd (based on International Energy Agency’s data) in June.

Iran’s oil production dropped by 0.62 percent in July following sanctions imposed by European Union (EU) countries on the country, he said.

He said the Kingdom remains the largest oil exporter to China, whose exports jumped by 26.1 percent or 1.2 million bpd due to the improvement of downstream industries in July in the country.

However, China’s economy, as seen by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), needs further reform and its currency has to be rebalanced to achieve better growth and minimize risks, he said.

Economic analyst Naif Al-Eid said global expectations will reflect the fluctuations of oil prices during the coming days, but will not go below $ 100 per barrel price preferred by oil producing countries.

The increased risk produced by the closure of the Hormuz Strait (by Iran) and possible application of incentive plans in the US and European economies will make it difficult to keep oil prices below $100 per barrel, he said.

Meanwhile, a report released by Petroleum Policy Intelligence (PPI) said Saudi Arabia increased its oil production to 10.3 million bpd in July, an increase of 445,000 bpd compared to May figures.

The Kingdom’s actual production rate was 10.1 million barrels a day in June, compared with 9.8 million in May, the PPI report said.

What is affecting the price of oil currently are geopolitical factors rather than purely technical reasons, and a proof of that is the move of OPEC countries to increase oil production with continuation of oil prices above $ 100 per barrel, the report said.

By SHARIF M. TAHA, Aug 04 2012