Saudi Arabia is aggressively protecting market share in the face of rising exports from fellow Opec members Iran and Iraq and the threat of a resurgence in US oil shale production if oil prices rally further. The latest monthly data from the Riyadh-based Joint Organizations Data Initiative (Jodi) show that Aramco’s crude exports are on track for record highs. Averaging 7.52mn b/d in the first half of 2016, they are slightly up on the same period in 2013. The 7.42mn b/d average then paved the way for an annual record of 7.54mn b/d.

June exports reached 7.46mn b/d, although this was well short of March 2015’s record 7.9mn b/d. This was when Aramco began its now 17-month long run of production in excess of 10mn b/d – the key weapon in its ‘market share over oil prices’ policy, which has dismayed some fellow Opec producers. (CONTINUED - 619 WORDS)