Saudi Crude Oil Exports Jump in Tracker Data Before OPEC Meeting

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia’s crude exports jumped in the first half of June, before the world’s largest oil exporter meets with other producer states to thrash out a collective production policy.

Observed shipments from the country’s Persian Gulf and Red Sea ports averaged 7.388 million barrels a day during the first 15 days of June, compared with 7.145 million barrels a day in all of May, initial vessel-tracking and fixture data compiled by Bloomberg show. Were the current rate maintained, it would represent the highest observed monthly outflow since March 2017.

Saudi Crude Oil Exports Jump in Tracker Data Before OPEC Meeting

The increase occurs as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries prepares to meet in Vienna on June 22 to discuss whether to continue output cuts that began at the start of 2017. U.S. President Donald Trump is pressuring OPEC to add barrels, claiming oil prices are too high.

With a global glut largely gone and production plummeting in fellow OPEC state Venezuela, Saudi Arabia has proposed easing the curbs. Russia is also seeking to bolster output while Iran has said it will oppose the move. The Persian Gulf state’s own outflows appeared to slide this month, according to separate vessel tracking.

Saudi Arabia’s increased shipments were helped by additional deliveries to Japan and India, which helped offset a drop to South Korea. China-bound deliveries appeared steady at about 1.07 million barrels a day.

Iran’s oil exports dropped by 16 percent to 2.114 million barrels a day in the first two weeks of June, compared with the same period in May, according to Bloomberg calculations.

The flow rates from tanker tracking become more volatile the shorter the timespan being monitored. The loading of a single supertanker can affect the daily flow rate by 133,000 barrels over a 15-day period. The figures for both Saudi Arabia and Iran will become clearer by the end of the month.

The Riyadh-based Joint Organisations Data Initiative reported Monday that Saudi Arabia’s monthly crude exports in April rose 3 percent to 7.312 million barrels a day, the highest since January 2017, JODI reported Monday. Tanker tracking data and JODI figures don’t necessarily correlate.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.