ABU DHABI, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s oil exports rose in July as the kingdom pumped record high levels of crude, keeping the global market well supplied.
The world’s largest oil exporter has been maintaining high output levels since mid-2014 despite a global supply glut, in line with a strategy of defending market share against rival producers.
Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports in July rose to 7.622 million barrels per day from 7.456 million bpd in June, official data showed on Monday.
The kingdom produced a record high 10.673 million bpd in July, up from 10.550 million bpd in June with the increase due to summer demand and requests from customers. However, its output slipped in August to 10.63 million bpd, industry sources have said. Export data for August is not yet available.
Several members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have called for an output freeze to rein in an oil glut that triggered a price collapse in the last two years, hitting the revenues of major producers.
In the past, analysts have persistently discounted the possibility that OPEC members such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria and Libya will agree to production curbs as they protected market share, but some analysts have become more hopeful an agreement can be reached.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday that OPEC and other major oil producers were close to reaching a deal on price stability that could be announced later this month.
Saudi Arabia’s domestic crude inventories totalled 281.463 million barrels in July, down from 289.445 million in June, data provided by the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) showed.
JODI compiles data supplied from oil-producing members of global organisations including the International Energy Agency and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Saudi Arabia’s oil inventories peaked last October at a record high 329.430 million barrels but have declined since as the country has drawn down its stockpile to meet domestic demand without impacting its exports.
As it expands oil product exports, the kingdom has been feeding more crude to domestic refineries.
Domestic refineries processed 2.611 million bpd of crude in July, up from 2.381 million in June. Exports of refined oil products in July totalled 1.367 million bpd versus 1.371 million in June.
State oil firm Saudi Aramco has stakes in more than 5 million bpd of refining capacity at home and abroad, placing it among the global leaders in making oil products.
In July, crude oil used to generate power fell to 697,000 bpd from 704,000 bpd in June, the JODI data showed. (Reporting by Maha El Dahan; Editing by Susan Fenton)