Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia produced 9.767 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in January, down from 9.819 million in December, a Gulf industry source said on Monday.
The kingdom raised its supply to the market, however, to 9.916 million bpd from 9.897 million, he said. Supply may differ from production depending on movement in or out of storage.
“The market is really good, the market is stable, there is strong demand growth,” the source said.
The slight drop in output suggests Saudi Arabia for now shows no signs of curtailing production. Some market observers had speculated that it would need to cut output towards 9 million bpd by the middle of this year to make way for more oil expected to reach the market from Iran and Iraq.
Crude exports from Iraq declined in January to an average of 2.228 million bpd but are expected to rise this month, Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said last week.
Opec’s oil output rose to an average of 29.94 million bpd in January from a 2-1/2-year low in December due to a partial recovery in Libyan supply and higher shipments from Iraq and Iran, a Reuters survey found.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed in early December to renew a 30 million bpd output cap for the first six months of 2014.
Both Iraq and Iran, second and third in the Opec producers’ league table after Saudi Arabia, wasted no time in making clear that they had no interest in contributing to a collective cut should one be required next year.