Record Saudi crude oil production of 10.57mn b/d for 2022 (MEES, 13 January) drove an 800,000 b/d year-on-year increase in the kingdom’s crude oil exports. Figures from data intelligence firm Kpler show that crude exports (excluding Saudi Arabia’s 50% share from the Partitioned Neutral Zone) exceeded 7mn b/d last year for the first time since 2017. At 7.06mn b/d they were the third highest figure on record, but were still well below 2016’s all-time high of 7.35mn b/d (see chart).

The primary reason as to why record crude production didn’t translate into record crude oil exports is Saudi Arabia’s refining sector. The kingdom has invested heavily in refining capacity over the past decade and throughputs over the first ten months of 2022 averaged 2.713mn b/d according to the latest Jodi submissions. In contrast, throughputs in 2016 were 2.459mn b/d. Indeed, Saudi Arabia looks well placed to have set a new annual record for refinery throughputs last year, with the existing record standing at 2.642mn b/d from 2018. (CONTINUED - 1029 WORDS)