SAUDI DATA: April crude oil exports rise to 23-month high, but inventories build


Saudi Arabia’s crude exports continued to rise in April, hitting their highest level in 23 months, according to the latest figures from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative, but the country still put barrels into storage as not all of its production reached the market.

Saudi Arabia exported 7.382 million b/d in April, the JODI data published June 20 showed, up from March’s 7.235 million b/d. The exports are the highest since the country hit an all-time record of 10.237 million b/d April 2020, when the country increased supply after a temporary collapse of the OPEC+ production agreement.

Saudi Arabia’s direct crude use also rose amid higher summer temperatures to 397,000 b/d in April compared with 335,000 b/d in March. Consumption in the summer typically rises as Saudi Arabia diverts more crude for power generation.

The world’s largest crude exporter’s refinery intake, however, fell to 2.538 million b/d in April compared with 2.773 million b/d in March. S&P Global Commodity Insights previously reported that Saudi Arabia’s 550,000 b/d Ras Tanura refinery underwent partial maintenance involving its diesel unit, starting in March through mid-April.

Combining the exports, direct use and refinery runs shows Saudi supply to the market at 10.317 million b/d, which is lower than its reported output figure of 10.441 million b/d for April.

Accordingly, Saudi Arabia’s oil inventories rose to 139.579 million barrels compared with 135.846 million barrels in March.

The inventory build came despite increasing calls from consuming countries, such as the US and India, for more supplies as western sanctions targeting Russia’s financial sector over its invasion of Ukraine disrupted Russian oil flows.

The OPEC+ alliance, which Saudi Arabia co-chairs with Russia, plans to increase production through the summer, with July and August hikes of 648,000 b/d, about 50% higher than the previous typical 432,000 b/d monthly raises.

In refined products, Saudi Arabia exported 1.473 million b/d in April, the JODI data showed, down slightly from 1.488 million b/d in March.

The JODI figures are maintained by the Riyadh-based International Energy Forum.

Saudi supply

March April
Crude oil exports 7.235 7.382
Direct use 0.335 0.397
Refinery intake 2.773 2.538
Total supply to market 10.343 10.317
Production 10.300 10.441
Unit: million b/d
Source: JODI