OPEC’s largest producer, Saudi Arabia crude exports surged by half-a-million barrels a day in September as increased buying by India and South Korea helped to offset a dip in Chinese demand.
According to tanker-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg, observed shipments from the kingdom rose to about 6.2 million barrels daily, the highest since May. It compares with 5.7 million barrels a day in August.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies relaxed their supply cuts starting in August, though production targets are set to remain steady through the end of the year.
Saudi Arabia, has consistently held to its pledged output quota while pressing other members of the OPEC+ alliance to do the same.
Saudi crude exports in September spiked to highest since May
Saudi Arabia in September, cut the price of its flagship oil grade to Asia for the first time in four months, creating an incentive for refiners in the region to boost their purchases of Saudi crude. In China, stockpiles have risen after the country binged on oil when crude was cheap in April and May, as the pandemic battered the oil market. Independent refiners have also used up many of their import allocations.
Saudi shipments to China, sill the largest buyer of the kingdom’s oil, dropped to 1.3 million barrels a day, the lowest since June. Flows to India rose to 733,000 barrels a day, the highest since April. Cargoes to South Korea and Egypt, a storage hub and transit point to Europe via the Suez Canal, both jumped to the highest in three months.
Saudi flows to the U.S. in recent months have dropped significantly. Weekly data from the Energy Information Administration showed that in early September, U.S. imports of the kingdom’s crude fell to the lowest since at least 2010.