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Saudi Oil Exports Rise 4.4% in November 2019

Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports in November 2019 rose 4.4 percent to 7.37 million barrels per day (bpd), from 7.06 million bpd in October, official data showed on Monday.

However, the country's crude output fell by 412,000 bpd to 9.89 million bpd in November, while crude stocks fell by 1.07 million barrels to 167.01 million barrels, data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI) showed.

Led by de facto leader Saudi Arabia, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies agreed last December to deepen output cuts for the first quarter of 2020.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said last October that the Kingdom’s oil production would recover in October and November of 2019 to levels above those seen before attacks on its energy installations in September.

Meanwhile, the next meeting between representatives of the OPEC+ group of oil producers will take place in March, the RIA news agency cited OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo as saying on Monday.

Barkindo said none of the participants had asked for the time of the meeting to be changed, RIA reported.

Tensions are increasing in the Middle East along with fears regarding oil production.

Head of the Japanese petroleum industry said on Monday, in this regard, that oil supply disruptions in Libya and Iraq could be offset by increased output from OPEC, limiting the impact on global oil markets.

“Oil prices may fluctuate due to the latest incidents, but we don’t have to worry about too much about demand and supply balance as OPEC can cover shortfalls (from Libya and Iraq),” Takashi Tsukioka, president of the Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ), told a news conference.

Two major oilfields in southwest Libya began shutting down on Sunday after forces loyal to Marshal Khalifa Haftar closed a pipeline, potentially reducing national output to a fraction of its normal level, the country’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said.

The market impact from Libya is expected to be short-lived, Tsukioka said.

He also said there was a report of an Iraqi oilfield suspending operations due to labor issues, without giving further details.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia agreed last month to end a five-year dispute over the shared Neutral Zone in a deal which will allow production to resume at two oilfields that can pump up to 0.5 percent of the world’s oil supply.

Under International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules, ships, from this month, must use fuel with a sulfur content of just 0.5 percent - down from 3.5 percent - or install devices known as scrubbers that strip out the toxic pollutant.

“IMO-compliant marine fuels have been supplied smoothly since late last year,” Tsukioka said, adding that Japanese refiners were aiming to maintain a stable supply.