Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports rose in August for a fourth consecutive month to the highest since January 2021, the Joint Organization Data Initiative (JODI) said on Monday.
The Kingdom’s crude oil exports rose to 6.450 million barrels per day (bpd) in August, up from 6.327 million bpd in July.
Total exports, including petroleum derivatives, were 7.90 million bpd.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, collectively known as OPEC +, agreed in July to boost output by 400,000 bpd a month until at least April 2022 to phase out 5.8 million bpd of existing production cuts, already much reduced from curbs that were in place during the worst of the pandemic.
Output from the world’s largest oil exporter increased by 88,000 bpd month-over-month to 9.562 million bpd, a peak since April 2020.
The performance of Saudi Arabian refineries rose to 2.521 million bpd in August, a high not seen since the same month last year.
However, direct oil combustion fell 37,000 bpd to 654,000 bpd, JODI figures showed.
The monthly export figures are provided by the government in Riyadh and other OPEC members to the JODI organization, which publishes them on its website.
Meanwhile, oil prices hit multi-year highs on Monday buoyed by recovering demand and high natural gas and coal prices encouraging users to switch to fuel oil and diesel for power generation.
Brent crude oil futures were up 59 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $85.45 a barrel by 0900 GMT, after hitting $86.04, their highest level since October 2018.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed 90 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $83.18 a barrel, after hitting a $83.73, their highest since October 2014. Both contracts rose by at least three percent last week.
OPEC+ compliance with oil cuts fell slightly to 115 percent in September, Reuters quoted sources as saying, indicating that as the alliance raises production targets, some members are still falling short as they face challenges in pumping more oil.
OPEC+ raised its output targets by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in September.
Underinvestment and maintenance problems have stymied efforts by Angola and Nigeria to raise output, an issue that is expected to continue impacting the West African producers in the near future.
Last week, Saudi Arabia, the defacto leader of OPEC, defended the policy of gradual production increases from OPEC+ despite calls from major consumers like the United States to add more barrels as oil prices rise.
Asked about calls OPEC+ to increase production further, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said: “I keep telling people we are increasing production.”