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Saudi Produces, Stores More Oil as Exports Fall

Source: Bloomberg 6/19/2012, Location: Middle East

Saudi Arabia kept more oil in storage in April than at any other time in a decade as Opec's biggest producer pumped at the highest level for at least 31 years, official data show. The world's largest crude exporter stored 284 million barrels inside the country in April, 3.8 per cent more than in March, according to statistics the government submitted to the Joint Organization Data Initiative (JODI). Inventories climbed to their highest since January 2002, when Saudi Arabia first submitted statistics to the organization known as JODI.

Saudi oil output in April increased 1.8 per cent to 10.1 million barrels a day compared to March, while April exports fell 1.6 per cent to 7.58 million barrels a day, the data showed.

The desert kingdom boosted production as Iran, the No. 2 producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), faced intensified sanctions on its energy industry over its nuclear program, including a European Union embargo on Iranian crude set to take effect July 1.

Shipments from Iran, which provided no comparable data for April, fell 4 per cent in March to 2.24 million barrels a day, while Iran's March output was little changed at 3.76 million barrels. Global statistics Saudi Arabia has the world's second-largest proven oil reserves after Venezuela, according to data BP published last week.

JODI is supervised by the Riyadh-based International Energy Forum and compiles data provided by member governments. The IEF, a group of nations accounting for more than 90 percent of global oil and natural-gas supply and demand, was established as a forum for producing and consuming countries to discuss energy security. The US, China and the EU are among the IEF's members, according to its website.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency said on June 13 in its monthly Oil Market Report that Saudi Arabia cut production in May by about 100,000 barrels a day to 10 million barrels a day, after reaching a three-decade peak in April.

Opec reported separately on June 12 that Saudi Arabia raised output by 39,700 barrels a day in May to 9.92 million barrels, according to a monthly study from the group's Vienna- based secretariat that uses secondary sources such as analysts and news agencies for output estimates.

Abdalla El Badri, Opec's secretary-general, said on June 14 in Vienna that the group's 12 members would need to cut output by 1.6 million barrels a day to comply with its output limit of 30 million barrels a day.

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