In a recent report from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI), Saudi Arabia, the world's leading crude oil exporter, experienced a notable uptick in crude oil exports, reaching a five-month high in November. According to JODI data, crude oil exports rose by 39,000 barrels per day (bpd), totaling around 6.34 million bpd, surpassing the October level of 6.3 million bpd.
However, in a strategic move aligned with the OPEC+ agreement, Saudi Arabia reduced crude oil production by 122,000 bpd in November, reaching 8.82 million bpd—the lowest level in 2023. This production cut is part of the ongoing efforts to balance global oil markets, with an additional voluntary output reduction of 1 million bpd.
The November crude oil production in Saudi Arabia fell below the five-year average range for the period 2018 through 2022, as indicated by JODI data. The Kingdom's commitment to production cuts remained evident, reflecting its dedication to stabilizing oil markets.
Notably, direct burn of crude and refinery runs both experienced a slight decrease in November, as reported by JODI. Concurrently, Saudi Arabia witnessed a decline in crude oil and oil product closing stocks, with a reduction of 4.05 million barrels, resulting in a total of 230.4 million barrels in November. Product inventories decreased by 4.19 million barrels, while crude inventories increased by 140,000 barrels.
Looking ahead to early 2024, Saudi Arabia is expected to maintain its current production and export levels, in line with the most recent JODI datasets. The Kingdom has committed to sustaining its voluntary production cut of 1 million bpd until the end of the first quarter of the year.
Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, emphasized the possibility of extending OPEC+ production cuts beyond March 2024 if market conditions necessitate it. In late 2023, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman addressed misconceptions about the group's output agreement and anticipated a clearer understanding as the market witnesses the tangible outcomes of the deal.