Thursday, June 21, 2012
The chart above shows all the latest publicly available oil-production data for Saudi Arabia. The black line is the average and probably of most interest to the average reader. The data are not zero-scaled to better show changes. The red line far below the others is the in-country oil-rig count and should be read against the right scale.
Saudi Arabian production is always of great interest for one reason or another; the current reason is to know, if oil prices keep falling below the current level of $92 (Brent), at what point they will start to cut production to support prices. My guess is that it won't be too much further, if any at all.
The data above go through May, and you could read a small fall into the May data point - though you'd probably be a bolder analyst than me to call it the beginning of a trend all by itself.
On a technical/data note, something new in recent months is that OPEC has started reporting numbers based on direct reporting from the member countries, in addition to the data based on secondary sources (presumably tanker-counting consultants) that they have traditionally provided. The new data appear to match the JODI data (also self-reported) where they overlap, but has an extra two months available (in this case April and May). Thus I have combined this with the JODI data series. It is that series which is the only one (so far) showing a fall from April to May (of about 300kbd). The secondary sources show a small rise instead. IEA data will be public in another week, so that will provide a tie-breaking vote.