By WAEL MAHDI
Saudi Arabia, the worlds biggest oil exporter, shipped
the least crude in almost three years in May as domestic
refineries processed record amounts and power plants also
increased consumption, official data showed.
The nation exported 6.99 million bpd in May, down from 7.45
million bbl a month earlier, according to data Saudi Arabia
submits to the Joint Organisations Data Initiative in Riyadh.
The shipments were the smallest since September 2011. Crude
production rose to 9.71 million bpd from 9.66 million in
Saudi Arabian refiners processed 2.14 million bpd of crude in
May, the highest since at least January 2002, the year when
JODI started collecting data from member governments. Crude
processing in May went up from 1.85 million bpd in April, the
The record refining
volume shows that Saudi
Arabia is fulfilling its plans to become a major downstream
player, said Julian Lee, a Bloomberg oil strategist in
London who writes for First Word and whose observations are
The nations 400,000-bpd Jubail refinery
is running at about 80%
of capacity and a new Yanbu plant of the same size should
start operations before the end of the year, he said.
Saudi power plants burned 680,000 bpd compared with 484,000
bbl in April, and 547,000 bbl a year ago. May crude burning
was at highest level since August 2013, JODI showed.