Saudi oil output steady in Feb after preliminary freeze deal

Saudi Arabia produced 10.23 million bpd of crude in January, close to a record high

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Saudi Arabia kept its crude oil production steady in February, pumping 10.22 million barrels per day (bpd), an industry source told Reuters on Monday, after the top oil exporter struck a preliminary deal with other producers to freeze output.

OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC member Russia, the world’s two largest oil exporters, along with Qatar and Venezuela said last month they would freeze output at January levels to prop up prices if other oil-producing nations agreed to join the first global oil pact in 15 years.

Saudi Arabia produced 10.23 million bpd of crude in January, close to a record high. Crude supplied to the market in February was around 10.4 million bpd, the source said.

“It is an indication that demand is still growing strongly. There is no sign of weakening demand growth,” the source said.

Supply to the market, domestically and for export, may differ from production depending on the movement of oil in and out of storage.

Kuwait produced 3 million bpd of oil in February, unchanged from January, while the United Arab Emirates pumped 2.78 million bpd, separate industry sources said.

In January, the UAE’s output was 3.13 million bpd, according to data from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Gulf OPEC members Kuwait and the UAE said they welcomed the deal to freeze output and would commit to it if other major producers took part.

But OPEC’s third-largest producer, Iran, plans to raise production after international sanctions against the country were lifted in January and has called the deal laughable.

Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said Tehran would join discussions between other producers about freezing oil production after its own output reached 4 million bpd, ISNA news agency reported on Sunday.

The issue is set to be discussed when Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak meets Zanganeh. Novak is visiting Tehran on Monday, RIA news agency reported, citing the Russian embassy in Iran.