SAUDI ARABIA HAS ASKED ARAMCO TO BOOST OIL CAPACITY: CEO

Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry has directed oil producer Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) to raise its output capacity to 13 million from 12 million barrels per day (bpd), CEO Amin Nasser said in a statement on Wednesday."The company is exerting its maximum effo...

Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry has directed oil producer Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) to raise its output capacity to 13 million from 12 million barrels per day (bpd), CEO Amin Nasser said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The company is exerting its maximum efforts to implement this directive as soon as possible," Nasser added.

Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it would boost its oil supplies to a record high in April, raising the stakes in a standoff with Russia and effectively rebuffing Moscow’s suggestion for new talks.

Brent crude LCOc1 was trading at $36.77 per barrel, down 1.2%, at 0733 GMT.

Nasser on Tuesday said state-backed Saudi Aramco would increase crude oil supply in April to 12.3 million bpd, or 300,000 bpd above its maximum production capacity.

The clash of oil titans Saudi Arabia and Russia sparked a 25% slump in crude prices on Monday, triggering panic selling on Wall Street and other stock markets already badly hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Saudi Arabia has been pumping around 9.7 million bpd in the past few months, but has extra production capacity it can turn on. It also has hundreds of millions of barrels of crude in store.

Moscow said Russian oil companies might boost output by up to 300,000 bpd and could increase it by as much as 500,000 bpd, sending the Russian rouble and stocks plunging.

Riyadh’s unprecedented planned hike in supply follows the collapse of talks last week between members of the OPEC+ grouping, an informal alliance of OPEC states, Russia and other producers, that has propped up prices since 2016.

Russia rejected OPEC’s call to deepen existing supply cuts, prompting OPEC to scrap all production limits and Russia to say it would also boost output.

In response, crude prices briefly fell to almost $31, reviving fears of a 2014-style price crash.

Source: National News Agency