Saudi Arabian crude exports rose in June to near-record-high levels, even as the country used less petroleum to generate electricity than the same month in 2015, according to new data released on Thursday.
The Kingdom’s crude exports increased to 7.456 million barrels a day, the highest for the month of June since 2012, when barrel prices were still experiencing a bull market.
Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s new energy minister, had vowed in June not to increase production, however, the figures show increased outputs at accelerated rates.
In June, KSA produced 10.550 million barrels of oil in June, up from 10.270 million barrels in May, according to data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative.
Saudi Arabia reported to OPEC earlier this month that it had pumped a record 10.67 million barrels in July.
Despite calls from other OPEC members, notably Algeria and Venezuela, to halt production and reverse the oil glut, Saudi Arabia has continued to increase output, in part to prevent Iran from regaining market share.
“The market share that Iran used to have globally, and the market share that Iran had within OPEC as a whole, fell dramatically between 2011 and 2013, and Saudi Arabia took much of that share,” Michael Cohen, an analyst at Barclays told The Financial Times.
Since international sanctions against Iran were lifted in 2015, Iran has rebuilt its production capacity to 3.85 million barrels per day – just below pre-sanctions levels.
The Iranian Oil Minister, Bijan Nambar Zangeneh, has previously rejected the possibility of entering a production freeze agreement with OPEC on the grounds that the country is still recovering from the effects of several years of sanctions.
Iran’s long-term production goal is to increase output to 4.6 million barrels a day within the next five years, though the national government awaits foreign interest in upstream investment, oilfield infrastructure and downstream processing facilities to make the effort a reality.
In total, Iran has listed 28 oil projects and 21 natural gas hopeful projects that if developed, will aid in meeting its output goal.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com