Saudi Arabia 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 barrels a day in March, and to the lowest since 7.36 million in October, according to data released Monday by the Joint Organizations Data Initiative in Riyadh. 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 higher 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.
“We have a refinery turnaround season going on,” Mohamed Ramady, a London-based independent analyst, said by phone.
Also, “we had an uptick in local consumption of crude for power,” he said.
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 barrels a day from 3.81 million in March, while Kuwait’s exports declined to 2.03 million in April from 2.2 million, the data show.