Saudi Arabia's April Crude Exports at 6-Month Low

Saudi Arabia's April Crude Exports at 6-Month LowSaudi Arabia's April Crude Exports at 6-Month Low

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, cut shipments in April to the lowest level in six months as overseas refineries bought less due to seasonal maintenance and the kingdom burned more oil at home to power air-conditioners.

Shipments dropped to 7.44 million barrels a day from 7.54 million bpd in March and to the lowest since 7.36 million in October, according to data released by the Joint Organizations Data Initiative in Riyadh, Bloomberg reported.

Exports also declined for Qatar, whose shipments slid to the lowest since at least 2002, as well as for fellow OPEC members Iraq and Kuwait, the data show.

Oil companies typically shut refineries for maintenance in April and May in preparation for increased summer demand.

Saudi Arabia is planning to boost crude production to 10.5 million barrels a day in the next few months as higher summer temperatures boost demand for electricity needed to cool homes and offices, a person with knowledge of Saudi output policy said in April.

The country’s output was 10.26 million barrels a day in April after reaching a record 10.56 million in June 2015, according to JODI.

Saudi Arabia burned 501,000 barrels a day of oil for electricity in April compared with 397,000 barrels a day in March.

Qatar’s oil exports, which fell to 427,000 barrels a day in April from 506,000 barrels in March, were the lowest since JODI started compiling data in January 2002.

Iraq’s shipments dropped to 3.36 million bpd from 3.81 million in March, while Kuwait’s exports declined to 2.03 million in April from 2.2 million, the data show.

The amount of Saudi crude in domestic and overseas storage facilities also declined in April for the sixth consecutive month, JODI data showed. Stockpiles fell to 290.9 million barrels from 296.7 million barrels in March, and to the lowest level since August 2014 when the country had 285.6 million barrels in storage, according to the data.