DUBAI, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports fell in October by 176,000 barrels per day from the month before, despite high production, but its refined products shipments rose as the kingdom expands its refining power, official data showed on Monday.
The world’s top exporter shipped 7.636 million barrels per day in October, down from 7.812 million bpd in September, according to data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI).
The kingdom pumped 10.625 million bpd in October, down from 10.650 million bpd in September, the data showed.
Saudi Arabia has maintained high output levels since mid-2014 aiming to defend market share against rival producers.
But in a U-turn on policy, Riyadh led OPEC and other rival producers to reach their first deal since 2001 to curtail oil output and ease a global glut. The deal, secured this month, came after more than two years of low prices that overstretched many budgets and spurred unrest in some countries.
Saudi Arabia’s domestic crude inventories fell to 276.586 million barrels in October, from 278.688 million in September, the JODI data showed.
Saudi Arabia’s oil inventories peaked in October 2015 at a record high 329.430 million barrels and have declined since as the country has drawn down its oil stockpile to meet domestic demand without impacting its exports.
Domestic refineries processed 2.564 million bpd of crude in October, up from 2.426 million in September. Exports of refined oil products in October rose to 1.443 million bpd compared with 1.349 million in September.
The kingdom has been feeding more crude to domestic refineries as it expands oil product exports.
State oil firm Saudi Aramco has stakes in more than 5 million bpd of refining capacity at home and abroad, placing it among the global leaders in making oil products.
In October, crude oil used to generate power was almost steady at 492,000 bpd, from 490,000 bpd in September, the JODI data showed, as cooling temperatures reduced demand for air conditioning.
JODI compiles data supplied from oil-producing members of global organisations including the International Energy Agency and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. (Reporting by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Susan Fenton)