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Saudi Crude Exports Drop to 21-Month Low

Saudis are bearing the brunt of the output cuts that OPEC members pledged to make.Saudis are bearing the brunt of the output cuts that OPEC members pledged to make.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude shipper, trimmed exports to a 21-month low in February as local refineries took advantage of more abundant supplies and processed a record amount of crude.

Oil exports fell to 6.95 million barrels a day, the lowest since May 2015, from 7.7 million a day in January, according to data published Tuesday on the Riyadh-based Joint Organizations Data Initiative website.

The kingdom boosted production to 10 million barrels a day from 9.7 million a day, the data show, Bloomberg reported.

Saudi Arabia is bearing the brunt of the output cuts that members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries pledged to make in the first six months of this year. It committed to pump no more than 10.058 million barrels a day, as OPEC and other major producers sought to rein in global oversupply and support prices.

OPEC meets on May 25 to consider extending the cuts beyond June. According to reports, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and most other OPEC members are leaning towards extension if agreement is reached with other producers.

Saudi refineries increased the amount of crude they processed in the month by 26% to 2.67 million barrels a day, the highest in JODI data going back to January 2002.

The amount of crude used directly as fuel in power plants and other facilities also rose, as did volume in storage.

The country plans to double refining capacity to as much as 10 million barrels a day within 10 years, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih has said.

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the state producer known as Saudi Aramco, expects to start operating a 400,000 barrel-a-day refinery next year at Jazan on the Red Sea, adding to two other plants of the same size that have come online since 2013.

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