Saturday, February 19, 2011

OPEC Oil Exports Fall 2% as Saudi Shipments Decline

By Wael Mahdi

OPEC’s oil exports fell 2 percent in December from a month earlier as Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter, reported a decrease of 4.9 percent.

Total exports by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, excluding Algeria and the United Arab Emirates, fell by 387,000 barrels a day to 19.4 million barrels a day, the Joint Data Initiative website, which compiles data supplied by governments in an attempt to improve transparency, showed today.

Saudi Arabia’s exports fell to 6.05 million barrels a day in December from 6.36 million in November even as Saudi production rose to a two-year high of 8.37 million barrels a day, JODI said.

“This is a huge difference,” said John Sfakianakis, Chief Economist at Riyadh-based Banque Saudi Fransi, noting the 2.32 million barrel per day difference between what Saudi Arabia produced and its exports.

“It’s not clear if Saudi Arabia consumed the full 2.32 million barrels locally during that month, but what’s clear is that rise in local consumption is becoming eminent,” he said.

Energy demand in the kingdom will increase to more than 8 million barrels of oil equivalent a day by 2028, Hashim Yamani, president of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, said at a conference in Riyadh on Jan. 23. That compared with 3.4 million barrels of oil equivalent a day last year.

Total world output fell 14 percent in December from a month earlier to 55.5 million barrels a day, the lowest since 2002, mainly due to a in non-OPEC production, particularly in Latin America.

JODI is under the supervision of the Riaydh-based International Energy Forum and its data goes back to 2002.

Oil ministers and energy officials from 90 countries, including members of OPEC and the IEA, will sign a charter for the Forum in Riyadh on Feb. 22, host nation Saudi Arabia said yesterday.

The agreement is aimed at finding ways to stabilize oil markets and improve the collection and dissemination of supply, demand and price data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Wael Mahdi in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at

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