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• Saudi Arabia drew down its crude stocks by 11.4mn barrels (368,000 b/d) in January, allowing the kingdom to boost both exports and refinery throughputs to near-record levels despite holding crude production steady.
• Crude output was 10.23mn b/d in January dipping slightly to 10.22mn b/d in February, according to the latest numbers reported to Opec. MEES estimates February’s output slightly lower at 10.21mn b/d (MEES, 11 March): either way it marks the 12th straight month above 10mn b/d. While both figures are more than 340,000 b/d below the record 10.56mn b/d set in June 2015, they indicate that it remains full steam ahead for the kingdom in terms of producing at near-record levels in a bid to drive out ‘low cost producers’ (see p13).
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