Saudi Arabia announces rise in oil reserves

An offshore drilling platform stands in shallow waters at the Manifa offshore oilfield operated by Saudi Aramco in Manifa Saudi Arabia on Wednesday Oct. 3 2018. Bloomberg

"The results point out that the Kingdom's reserves of oil and gas are bigger than what we have been announcing", Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told reporters in Riyadh.

He also said Saudi Arabia was producing 10.20 million bpd, delivering on an earlier pledge to cut output further than required by a supply-limiting deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies such as Russian Federation.

Further easing concerns of global oversupply, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 1.7 million barrels from the week ending January 4, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday, which marked the biggest fall since November 2018.

Mr Al-Falih played down chatter in the market that Aramco would fund the entire US$70 billion Sabic deal with the bond offering.

That figure is "more than sufficient to bring balance to the market", said Falih, adding that the production cut would trim excess supply.

Brent and the world's other benchmark crude, West Texas Intermediate, both slumped late past year to 18-month lows of US$49.93 and US$42.36 per barrel respectively.

The kingdom also announced on Wednesday that its huge oil reserves, already the second largest in the world behind only Venezuela, are even bigger than previously thought.

The energy ministry said that Saudi reserves were 268.5 billion barrels of oil and 325.1 trillion standard cubic feet of gas at the end of 2017, Arab News reported, citing the official Saudi Press Agency. In DeGolyer's view, these contained 213.1 billion barrels of proved oil reserves, compared to 210.9 billion as estimated internally by Aramco.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, is the third biggest crude producer after the United States and Russian Federation.

"We are pursuing a total shift in paradigm in the gas station perception among the public, from what people think of gas stations now as a divergence from a main route to get convenience service to a destination of services on major highways, to work, or simply on the way back home", Al-Gahtani said.

The operation was not fully concluded, so the interest rates have not yet been calculated. "But the trade negotiations between the USA and China still add some uncertainty to global financial and oil markets, possibly leading to corrections in prices in the shorter term".

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