An October 18 Reuters report posted out of Dubai noted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports fell by 278,000 bpd in August, while volumes of shipped refined oil products rose to a record high. The Kingdom’s state run oil company, Saudi Aramco, shipped 6.998 million bpd of crude in August, down from 7.276 million bpd in July, according to figures published by the Middle East based Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI) on October 18.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter and now one of the world’s largest refiners, trimmed its crude production by around 100,000 bpd in August, pumping 10.265 million bpd, but still maintained high output levels in line with a strategy of defending market share. Monthly export figures are provided by the Saudi Arabian government as well as other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to JODI, which published them on its website (www.jodidata.org).
During the hot summer months, the OPEC swing producer burns higher volumes of its own crude production to generate power for air conditioning. As has been projected by many experts over the past few years, the Kingdom has also been directing more of its crude production to its domestic refineries as it expands refined product exports, resulting in less crude available for export.
Saudi Aramco’s domestic refineries processed the same volumes in August at 2.214 million, while crude oil directly burnt to generate power was also unchanged in August from the month before at 848,000 bpd, the JODI data showed. Exports of refined products increased in August to 1.347 million bpd from 1.075 million bpd a month earlier, a record high since at least 2002, according to the JODI data. Saudi Aramco has stakes in more than 5 million bpd of refining capacity, at home and abroad. Last year, Saudi Aramco said it would increase investments to over $100 billion over the next ten years that would result in an increase in 8 to 10 million bpd of refining capacity.