DUBAI, March 18 (Reuters) – Crude oil exports from Saudi Arabia rose in January to their highest level since April last year, while volumes used by domestic refineries remained high, official data showed on Wednesday.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi has said oil demand was growing and expected oil prices, which hit a near six-year low in January, to stabilise.
Oil markets monitor any changes in output and exports from Saudi Arabia, which has enough spare capacity to significantly alter production according to demand.
The top oil exporter shipped 7.474 million barrels per day of crude oil in January this year, up from 6.934 million in December, data published by the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) showed.
Production was steady in January at 9.680 million bpd from 9.630 million bpd in December, the data showed.
An industry source has told Reuters that crude supplies from the kingdom — for both exports and the domestic market — were 9.75 million bpd in January, 14,000 bpd higher than the month before.
Oil products exports fell to 798,000 bpd in January after a record high of 1.050 million bpd in December, the JODI data showed.
Domestic refiners processed 2.104 million bpd of crude in January, slightly lower from 2.217 million bpd in December, according to the data.
(Reporting by Rania El Gamal, editing by Louise Heavens)
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