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Saudi economy booms from oil windfall, as Q2 GDP sees fastest growth in 11 years


Kingdom's revenues from oil activities rise 23.1%

Platts Analytics estimates fiscal breakeven of $69/b

Output quota 11 mil b/d in August under OPEC+ deal

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia has reaped the benefits of higher oil prices and higher production, with its second quarter GDP rising by an 11-year record 11.8% from the same period in 2021, its General Authority of Statistic reported July 31.

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"This dynamic growth was mainly due to the increasing in oil activities by 23.1%," which includes producing and refining crude oil and natural gas, the report added.

OPEC and its allies have been gradually raising crude production quotas since imposing historic cuts in May 2020 to offset the worst impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the OPEC+ deal, Saudi Arabia is allowed to pump 11 million b/d in August, a level it has only reached twice in its history and never for longer than a month. The kingdom pumped 10.55 million b/d in June, according to the latest Platts survey of OPEC+ output by S&P Global Commodity Insights.

The August quotas are set to remain in place through the end of 2022, though OPEC+ ministers are scheduled to meet Aug. 3, where they could amend the production targets for September.

Platts Analytics estimates Saudi Arabia's fiscal breakeven price at $69/b in 2022, "providing significant OPEC+ policy flexibility when balances loosen."

The Platts Dated Brent benchmark was assessed at $114.14/b on July 29, according to data from S&P Global.

Saudi Arabia and its OPEC+ counterparts have been under immense pressure from the US and other major consuming nations, such as Japan, India and the UK, to aggressively hike output to bring down high oil prices.

Saudi officials, however, have made no commitments to do so, saying the kingdom would only increase production as the market requires.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was in Paris for a state visit with French President Emmanuel Macron on July 29, where energy was a top agenda item, two weeks after US President Joe Biden traveled to Saudi Arabia for a closely watched summit with Gulf leaders.

Saudi Arabia exported 7.050 million b/d of crude in May, the latest figures from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative showed, which was the lowest volume of exports since January, as the country's domestic refinery runs and direct use for power generation rose.

The new 400,000 b/d Jazan refinery has begun ramping up, with exports of ULSD reported in May, and higher runs expected in the months ahead.