Saudi Arabia to increase oil production, Donald Trump says

Saudi Arabia to increase oil production, Donald Trump says

Saudi Arabia to increase oil production, Donald Trump says

Japanese refiners are ramping up purchases of US crude as it becomes cheaper relative to their usual Middle East supplies and are assessing heavy grades from USA shale production as a replacement for supplies from Iran, industry sources said.

US President Donald Trump says the king of Saudi Arabia has agreed to increase oil production by "maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels" to offset declines from Iran and Venezuela, but the Saudis have not confirmed the claim.

Last week, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, agreed to pump one million barrels more crude oil a day, but summer usually leads to a demand for oil in the USA, in turn pushing up prices.

Im the run-up to the latest OPEC meeting, Riyadh, backed by Moscow, had argued strongly in favour of increasing production as grumbles in major consumer countries like the US, India and China have grown about higher prices.

It added that there also was an understanding that oil-producing countries would need "to compensate for any potential shortage of supplies".

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Trump applauded the decision to increase supply, writing on Twitter that OPEC needs to "keep the prices down".

In the tweet, Trump appeared to indicate his belief that current oil prices are too high.

President Trump said Saturday that he persuaded the king of Saudi Arabia to increase oil production in an effort to lower gas prices in the U.S. However, the price action on Friday suggests that buyers are still coming in and aggressively willing to chase this market higher.

Trump in May withdrew the United States from a 2015 agreement that curbed Tehran's nuclear capabilities and ordered the reimposition of US sanctions against Tehran. On Saturday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the U.S. of being behind the unrest.

Saudi Arabia now produces some 10 million barrels of crude oil each day. "He has agreed!" Trump tweeted early on Saturday. Trump's tweet offered no timeframe for the additional 2 million barrels - whether that meant per day or per month.

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Iran's rial currency has lost up to 40 per cent of its value since last month, when Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

However, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told journalists in India on Monday that the state oil company has spare capacity of 2 million barrels of oil per day.

"Because of (sanctions on) Iranian crude, we are looking at USA heavy crude" as a substitute, the source said, in particular grades such as Southern Green Canyon and Mars, which are similar to crude from Iran.

State Department officials said this week the United States is prepared to work with countries on a case-by-case basis to help them reduce imports of Iranian oil. South Korea accounted for 14 percent of Iran's oil exports past year, according to the US Energy Department.

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