Saudi Arabian oil exports to the US have held steady at around 1.3mn b/d over the past two years, despite a sharp decline in overall US imports of foreign oil, a fact that no doubt featured in discussions with US President Barack Obama during his visit to Riyadh on 28 March. But the OPEC kingpin’s relatively high levels of production in recent months is not swayed by politics and is designed to meet demand from customers, which remains healthy, a Gulf source tells MEES.

Mr Obama’s visit, which coincided with rising tension over the Russian annexation of Crimea and fears of a potential shift in Russian oil and gas exports, was more focused on politics than economics, the source says. While Washington does not appear to have sought any guarantees from Riyadh that it would continue to play the role of unofficial swing producer in the event of supply disruptions, any such call would have fallen on deaf ears, the source adds. (CONTINUED - 868 WORDS)