And data from TankerTrackers.com shows that figure is on track to be surpassed in April. Satellite tracking of VLCCs, the vessels that transport crude, tracked a whopping 1.46 million barrels per day of Saudi oil shipped to the U.S. in the first two weeks of April alone — four times February’s daily volume and a level not seen since 2014. The majority of tankers went to the Gulf Coast, with a smaller proportion going to Californian ports.
According to Saudi state oil producer Aramco’s website, the company was loading 15 tankers for its international customers on April 1 — the day a previous OPEC production cut agreement with its oil-producing allies, OPEC , expired — supplying the tankers with a record 18.8 million barrels in a single day.
The boost in exports comes against the backdrop of one of the most dramatic periods in oil market history: Record oil output from the world’s largest oil producers juxtaposed with eviscerated demand due to worldwide coronavirus lockdowns as economic activity and global commercial transport came to a screeching halt.
At the same time, China’s demand for oil all but evaporated, as it kept its major economic hubs under lockdown and factories across the country of 1.4 billion remained closed. From February to March, Saudi oil shipments to China fell by nearly 800,000 bpd, picking up again to about 1.3 million bpd in the first half of April.
OPEC and its allies last Sunday finally agreed to join forces to cut a historic 9.7 million barrels per day from the markets starting in May, in a deal that’s meant to last until 2022 — but oil prices remain depressed, with benchmark Brent crude down 55% year-to-date on Friday morning and holding its 18-year low amid grim outlooks for demand as the pandemic stretches on.
Despite the deal, Saudi Arabia is still cutting its selling prices to many of its customers for May, for instance discounting its flagship Arab Light crude to East Asian customers by $4.20 a barrel compared to April prices. For the U.S., meanwhile, its selling prices are actually increasing to $3 a barrel for its light crude, after a discount of $3.75 between March and April. Its selling prices to Europe between April and May will remain unchanged after cutting prices by between $8 and $13 for April.
Saudi Arabia’s oil exports to the US skyrocketed in the last month, CNBC, Apr 17