The Saudi-Russian oil price war may be officially over with the new, historic, OPEC+ deal, but Saudi Arabia has continued to aggressively pursue additional market share in Asia and managed to squeeze share out of its key rivals in the largest Asian oil importers, Bloomberg tanker-tracking data showed on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia doubled its crude oil exports to China in April to the highest volumes since at least 2017, exported the most oil to the U.S. since August 2018, and toppled Iraq as India’s top oil supplier last month, according to Bloomberg data.
After the collapse of the previous OPEC+ agreement in early March, Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco announced deep discounts for its oil to customers in Asia for two consecutive months, April and May, with the announcement for the May official selling prices coming even after OPEC+ reached a new deal to begin cutting production from May 1.
After the deal was sealed, Saudi Aramco slashed the price of its flagship Arab Light crude grade to Asia by another US$4.20 per barrel compared to April, to a discount of US$7.30 a barrel to the Oman/Dubai benchmark average. In the prior month, the Saudis had slashed all their prices for all regions for April, after OPEC’s top producer and its partner in the OPEC+ pact, Russia, broke up the production cut deal and the Saudis waged a price war for market share by discounting their oil deeply to all markets.
The Saudi strategy to gain market share worked in April, according to Bloomberg’s data.
Saudi Arabia’s exports to China doubled to 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd), and sales to India surged to 1.1 million bpd—the highest in at least three years—knocking Iraq off the top spot on the list of India’s biggest oil suppliers.
Exports to the United States also soared as the Saudis sent a fleet of oil tankers to the U.S. coasts. According to Bloomberg’s data, Saudi Arabia’s oil exports to the U.S. jumped to an average of 1 million bpd in April—the highest export volume since August 2018.