Saudi Arabia’s April crude exports fell by 161,000 b/d as domestic refiners processed more crude, official data showed.

Exports fell to 7.737 million b/d from 7.898 million in March when they hit their highest levels in almost a decade.

Domestic refiners processed 2.224 million b/d, up 315,000 b/d from 1.909 million b/d in March, figures supplied by Riyadh to the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) showed.

JODI compiles data supplied from oil-producing members of global organisations including the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Saudi Arabia has traditionally been the world’s biggest exporter of crude and the kingdom’s rapid transition into one of the largest oil refiners adds an extra dimension to global oil markets.

The growth puts its national oil company Saudi Aramco’s owned or equity stakes in refining at 5.4 million b/d, at least 40% above a decade ago.

Aramco itself markets more than 3 million b/d of that, tying it with Shell as the world’s fourth-largest oil refiner.

In April, the kingdom’s oil output inched up to its highest rate on record at 10.308 million bpd from 10.294 million b/d in March, according to JODI.

An executive from Saudi Aramco said last week his country is ready to increase output in the coming months to a new record to meet a rise in global demand, despite increased domestic use.

The kingdom burns more crude to generate power for air-conditioning heading into summer.

It burnt 358,000 b/d in April versus 351,000 b/d in March, data from JODI showed.

Source: Reuters