(MENAFN - Arab News) JEDDAH: Saudi crude exports fell in June to their lowest levels in almost three years as oil use in the country's power sector rose and local refineries processed high volumes official data showed.
Saudi Arabia exported 6.946 million barrels per day (bpd) in June slightly down from the 6.987 million bpd in May according to data published by the Joint Oil Data Initiative (JODI). The figure was the lowest since October 2011 the data showed.
The Kingdom's production inched up to 9.780 million bpd in June from 9.705 million bpd in May JODI figures showed.
Refiners processed 2.055 million bpd of crude in June slightly down from the 2.136 million bpd in May which was the highest since JODI records began in 2002.
Saudi Arabia's oil use for power generation surged to 827000 bpd in June from 680000 bpd in May and 484000 bpd in April.
June crude burning for power was the highest since March 2013 the data showed.
Saudi Arabia produced 10 million bpd of oil in July an industry source told Reuters last week.
A Reuters survey found on Thursday that OPEC's oil production has risen in August from July as a recovery in Libyan supply held up and Angola and Iran boosted supplies outweighing a further decline in Iraq.
The survey also found Saudi Arabia and other core Gulf OPEC producers kept output largely flat and have not cut back to prop up prices which in August dipped to a 14-month low near 101 a barrel or to make room for higher Libyan output.
Supply from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has averaged 30.15 million barrels per day (bpd) in August up from 30.06 million bpd in July according to the survey based on shipping data and information from sources at oil companies OPEC and consultants.
The 12-member OPEC pumps a third of the world's oil.
In August the largest increase has come from Libya where supply is up by 100000 bpd.
Still a linear recovery looks unlikely analysts say due to continued conflict.
'I think it will continue but with setbacks and very slowly' said Carsten Fritsch commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.
'It will not be one-way street.'
For now increases in Libya Angola and Iran have put OPEC's output above the group's nominal target of 30 million bpd for a second month. Involuntary outages such as in Libya kept output below 30 million bpd in earlier months of the year.
Another sizeable increase has come from Angola where four cargoes of CLOV crude a new stream operated by Total have loaded in August compared with none in July.
Iranian output climbed in August following a few months of lower sales the survey found on higher exports. Iranian output and exports have risen since the start of the year following a softening of Western sanctions on Iran over its nuclear work.
Saudi Arabia Kuwait and the UAE kept supply to market largely flat industry sources said.
In Saudi Arabia high levels of domestic crude burning in power plants offset lower exports they said.
Oil markets closely monitor changes in Saudi production because it is the only country with spare capacity to significantly alter output according to demand although surges in Saudi demand over the last few summers have eaten into exports.
Saudi oil use for power surges from February to June as rising temperatures drive up demand for air-conditioning in a country which relies entirely on fossil fuels for power generation and does not have enough gas to satisfy peak power demand.
Of the countries with falling output the biggest drop of 140000 bpd has come from Iraq because of a decline in oil exports from its southern terminals due to weather delays.
Iraqi oil officials say the southern fields have not been affected by fighting in other parts of the country. But violence has hit supply of Kirkuk crude from the north and shut down the Baiji refinery keeping crude output below Iraq's potential.
OPEC is not scheduled to meet to review output policy until November and a dip in prices Brent crude reached 101.07 on Aug. 19 a 14-month low has not caused concern according to delegates and ministers.
'The decline in crude prices is due to seasonal fluctuations and will not last' Iran's oil minister Bijan Zanganeh was quoted recently by Iranian news service Shana as saying.