Saudi Arabia is pumping around 9 million barrels per day of crude, steady from December output, a Saudi source said today.
“We are pumping around 9 million bpd now,” the source told Reuters. “And we have 11.3 million bpd of capacity.”
The world’s largest exporter pumped around 9 million bpd in December, according to a Reuters survey.
Some ministers and Opec officials have said over the last week that most members of the group were pumping at full capacity, constraining its ability to tame $100 oil.
Opec’s most influential member Saudi Arabia could boost output to 11.3 million bpd if necessary, the source said.
“We could go to 11.3 million bpd and sustain it,” the Saudi source told the news agency.
“That would not just be a surge and would not need any extra effort. And we will be boosting spare capacity this year.”
The start up of Saudi Arabia’s latest capacity increase, the 500,000 bpd Khursaniyah oilfield, was delayed a few months to the first quarter this year from December last year. Two more projects were scheduled to add another 350,000 bpd capacity by the end of 2008.
Saudi Arabia is spending billions on projects to meet growing world demand and maintain spare capacity of between 1.5 million and 2 million bpd of oil to deal with any unexpected outages in global supply. The kingdom aims to boost capacity to 12.5 million bpd next year.