TOKYO, (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter, will supply full contracted volumes of crude oil in October to at least six Asian term buyers, as expected and steady with September levels, industry sources said on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia made no changes to the operational tolerance level in the supply allocations, the sources said, meaning buyers have the option of asking for cargoes to be loaded with up to 10 percent more or less crude than contracted volumes.
But at least one Asian buyer said there was a slight change between grades of crude. Saudi Arabia provides five grades to Asian buyers, including the benchmark Arab Light.
Saudi Arabia is the most influential member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which is bound by self-imposed output quotas.
The country has restored full contracted volumes to most Asian buyers since January after curbs for most of 2009 that were applied in line with OPEC’s record output cuts.
OPEC, the source of more than a third of the world’s oil, cut its agreed output by 4.2 million barrels per day and has kept that reduced level since December 2008 to combat low demand.
The group next meets in October to review output policy.
Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said on Tuesday there was no reason for OPEC to reconsider production levels.
Shahristani said that current production levels should be maintained but OPEC should hold an extraordinary meeting if world crude prices fall below $70 per barrel.
Crude oil traded at $74.65 per barrel on Wednesday. It has been caught in a range of $70-$80 in the past three months, with the topside capped by weak global demand and the downside supported by reduced supplies from some exporters.
A Reuters survey released last week showed OPEC crude oil supply fell in August to the lowest since November 2009 as reduced supplies from Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq offset increased output in Angola.
“I don’t think OPEC will take the lead to change its production levels so long as prices stay within that ($70-$80) range,” another source said.