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Saudi Oil Stockpiles Hit 20 Months Low | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Oil Refinery / Reuters

Khobar- Saudi Arabia’s crude oil stockpiles fell last April reaching the lowest level in 20 months.

Official statistics issued on Monday, revealed that stockpiles dropped to 290.8 million barrels in March from 329.4 million barrels in October.

In April, Saudi Arabia exported 7.44 million barrels daily, almost 100,000 barrels less than the level in March of 7.54 million barrels per day.

Analyst Mohammed al-Ramadi believed that this decrease in production is because of refineries’ annual maintenance period between April and May.

In January, daily crude oil exports were at 7.84 million barrels, the highest rate since March 2015.

Last month, Saudi Minister of Energy Khalid al-Falih revealed in Vienna that crude oil demand is improving.

Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, and Qatar had an initial agreement in February to freeze production at January levels to curb a global glut and shore up prices.

Negotiations between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members and other producers in Doha ended without a deal to limit output after Saudi Arabia and allies in the Gulf Arab region wouldn’t agree to any accord unless all OPEC members joined, including Iran.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman revealed that Saudi Arabia currently sees no need to increase oil production, but is capable of adding million barrels once needed.

Saudi analysts believe that Saudi Arabia has increased its instant stockpiles.

Citigroup Bank revealed that Saudi Arabia has taken a new marketing strategy to sell its oil to China through instant shipments to independent small refineries of Saudi Aramco in Okinawa Island in Japan.

Saudi Arabia first entered the Baltic region in Europe through selling shipments to a Polish refining company which means that Aramco will directly export crude oil to the Baltic through this company’s reservoirs in Rotterdam.

Ramadi added that according to the contract between both parties, the amount of oil Poland will receive is not huge, and thus it will be easier for Aramco to sell crude oil to Poland from Rotterdam.

According to Ramadi, withdrawing from stockpiles was positive because it gave the Saudi fields a resting chance after producing over 10 million barrels daily since March 2015.

Citigroup Bank issued a report announcing that Saudi Arabia might increase its production to 11 million barrels a day in the coming months to meet the local demand.

The report also said that the Saudi increase might threaten the recovering oil prices, something a source at the Saudi oil industry told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper is not likely to happen.