Saudi crude exports jump to highest in more than two years
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Saudi crude exports jump to highest in more than two years

Saudi crude exports jump to highest in more than two years

The OPEC+ alliance will meet via video conference on August 3 to decide on future production policy

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Saudi Arabia’s crude exports soared in July to the highest level since April 2020 amid international pressure to tame elevated oil prices.

Observed seaborne shipments from the kingdom came to about 7.5 million barrels a day last month, tanker-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg show. That compares with a revised 6.6 million barrels a day in June.

Saudi officials weren’t immediately available for comment. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies have been under growing pressure to pump more crude, with benchmark oil prices trading around $100 a barrel and contributing to global inflation.

US President Joe Biden last month said he expects more output from Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer, following a landmark visit to the kingdom — though he left Riyadh without an immediate pledge.

Read: US President Joe Biden begins Middle East tour, meets Saudi Crown Prince

The OPEC+ alliance has been gradually boosting production for about a year, as it gradually eases away from output curbs imposed early in the pandemic. The group meets by video conference on Aug. 3 to decide on future production policy.

Saudi crude exports to China, the main destination, jumped to an average of 1.65 million daily barrels last month. Shipments to India topped 1 million barrels a day for the first time since April 2020.

Earlier in July, Bloomberg forecast that the kingdom’s crude exports for the month would be about 7.7 million barrels a day. Mid-month trackers can be less precise because a few days of unusual cargo flows can have a significant impact on a short timespan.

Observed Saudi crude exports to the US slipped to about 371,000 barrels a day in July, from 417,000 a month earlier, preliminary data show. Flows to Japan dropped by about 18 per cent, to 903,000 barrels a day. Those figures are likely to rise as vessels on the water indicate final destinations.

Saudi Arabia and Iraq have also diverted more of their crude toward Europe, via the Sumed pipeline across Egypt. Shipments through the link have soared since Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting Europe to shun Russian oil and seek alternative supplies.

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