Saudi Oil Exports Reach 9-Year High in March on Market-Share Push

ras tanura crude oil terminal saudi aramco
A supertanker berths at our Ras Tanura Sea Island Terminal, part of the Port of Ras Tanura, the world’s largest crude oil export terminal complex. Image: Saudi Aramco
By Wael Mahdi

(Bloomberg) — Saudi Arabia shipped more crude in March than in any month since November 2005 as the world’s biggest oil exporter battled for market share amid a global glut.

The kingdom exported 7.9 million barrels a day of crude, up 548,000 barrels a day from February, according to figures published Monday on the website of the Joint Organisations Data Initiative.

Iraq, the largest producer in OPEC after Saudi Arabia, shipped 2.98 million barrels a day in March, the most since at least January 2007 when it began submitting data to the initiative known as JODI.

Saudi Arabia and Iraq boosted exports as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped above its official target for the 11th consecutive month in April, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Middle Eastern producers are competing with cargoes from Latin America, North Africa and Russia for sales in Asia, and competition has intensified since OPEC decided on Nov. 27 to keep its output target unchanged at 30 million barrels a day. The group is to meet next on June 5 in Vienna.

Saudi Arabia produced 10.29 million barrels a day in March compared with 9.64 million in February, according to JODI. The country’s output in the month was the highest since at least January 2002 when JODI started collecting statistics from governments.

Saudi Arabia burned 351,000 barrels day of crude in March to generate electricity, an 11 percent increase from February, according to the JODI website. The nation processed 1.91 million barrels a day in domestic refineries in March, the lowest level since November last year, the data showed.

©2015 Bloomberg News