| DUBAI, March 23
DUBAI, March 23 Saudi Arabia's crude exports to
the United States in March will fall by around 300,000 barrels
per day from February, in line with OPEC's agreement to reduce
supply, a Saudi energy ministry official said on Thursday.
The United States imported about 1.3 million bpd from OPEC's
top exporter in February, according to U.S. Energy Information
"Exports may fluctuate week on week, but on average in March
exports will be down," the official said, responding to a
Reuters request to comment on the EIA data. Saudi exports are
then expected to remain around March's level for the next few
months, the official said.
The official noted that export data showed higher Saudi oil
exports in January and February but these shipments were the
result of cargo loaded in November and December.
Saudi Arabia has made the largest cut in production after
the agreement reached last year by both the Organization of the
Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers to reduce
output by 1.8 million bpd. Oil prices fell this week on concerns
that OPEC cuts so far have not dented record U.S. crude
Crude stocks in the United States, the world's largest oil
consumer, were a record 533 million barrels last week, the EIA
said. In the week ended March 17, U.S. imports from Saudi Arabia
unexpectedly rose by more than 200,000 bpd to 1.28 million bpd,
after a sharp decline the prior week.
The official said lower Saudi exports to the U.S. is likely
to affect stockpiling in the U.S.
"This is mainly because there is a refinery maintenance in
the U.S. The cuts in exports will help the crude stockpiling in
the U.S. to go down," the official said.
Gasoline stocks are falling, but remain seasonally high.
The official also said he believed other Gulf oil exporters
will follow suit and their crude exports will be lower in March
and will continue to decline.
(Reporting By Rania El Gamal in Dubai; writing by David Gaffen;
editing by Simon Webb)