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SAUDI DATA: July crude oil exports hit six-month high as crude burn stays elevated

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SAUDI DATA: July crude oil exports hit six-month high as crude burn stays elevated

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Direct use was highest since August 2020

Production jumped to 15-month high

Kingdom unwound almost all of extra output cuts

Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports climbed to a six-month high in July while seasonal crude burn remained elevated as high summer temperatures boosted demand for air conditioning, data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative showed.

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The OPEC kingpin exported 6.3 million b/d in July, a six-month high and up from 5.97 million b/d in June, according to the JODI data released Sept. 16. Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of OPEC, unwound almost all of its extra voluntary production cut in July, pumping 9.47 million b/d, near its quota of 9.5 million b/d under the supply accord between OPEC and its allies. Output in July was the highest level since April 2020, according to the JODI data.

Saudi Arabia had implemented an extra 1 million b/d of production cuts below its quota in February, but that has now been largely unwound. After a few heated meetings in July, the coalition finally agreed to increase output by 400,000 b/d every month starting in August, while also granting five countries -- Saudi Arabia, Russia, the UAE, Iraq and Kuwait -- higher output targets starting in May 2022.

The kingdom's direct use of crude oil for power generation climbed to an 11-month high of 691,000 b/d in July from 586,000 b/d in June, while refinery intake advanced to 2.46 million b/d from 2.4 million b/d over the same period, according to the JODI data.

Combining the exports, refinery runs, and direct use figures shows Saudi Arabia supplied 9.48 million b/d to the market in July, up from 8.95 million b/d in June.

With production close to supplies to the market, Saudi crude inventories were little changed at 135.1 million barrels.

Oil product exports, including LPG, naphtha, motor and aviation fuels, kerosene and diesel, fell to 1.32 million b/d in July from a 13-month high of 1.36 million b/d in June.

The JODI database is maintained by the Riyadh-based International Energy Forum.