Saudi crude oil exports surged by 345,000 barrels per day (bpd) from April to 7.789 million bpd in May, according to official data published by the Joint Data Initiative (JODI) on Wednesday.
The world’s largest oil exporter produced 9.657 million bpd of crude in May, 347,000 bpd more than in April, JODI data showed.
Saudi Arabia’s own crude consumption for power generation also rose, up 169,000 bpd from April to May.
It took nearly 102,000 bpd out of storage to help meet rising export and domestic demand, data from the oil statistics group shows.
Meanwhile, oil prices rose slightly Wednesday as official data revealed a larger-than-expected drop in US crude stockpiles that indicated a pick-up in demand, traders said.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in September climbed 29 cents to stand at $108.43 a barrel in late London deals.
New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for August, edged up three cents to $106.03 a barrel.
“Crude oil prices continue to remain underpinned after weekly inventories showed a bigger draw than estimated,” said Michael Hewson, senior analyst at traders CMC Markets UK.
The US Department of Energy on Wednesday said that American crude inventories last week fell by 6.9 million barrels. Analysts’ consensus forecast had been for a drop of 2.2 million barrels.
The market was also digesting the start of Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke’s testimony to Congress on the US economy and monetary policy.
Bernanke on Wednesday reiterated that the Fed stimulus could be wound up next year if economic growth remains steady as forecast.
But he warned that government spending cuts continue to threaten growth and that tapering the big bond-purchase program is “by no means” a “preset course”.