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Saudi Arabia seeks to further reduce oil stockpiles

© AFP/File | Saudi Arabia said it will further trim oil production and exports next month to reduce excess stockpiles that have weighed on crude prices, as concerns mount over US oversupply

RIYADH (AFP) - 

Saudi Arabia said Wednesday it will further trim oil production and exports next month to reduce excess stockpiles that have weighed on crude prices, as concerns mount over US oversupply.

Saudi Aramco's crude output in March will be 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) below its February level while exports will be kept below seven million bpd, the energy ministry said.

"Saudi Arabia remains focused on working down excess oil inventories," a ministry spokesman said.

"Market volatility is a common concern for producers and consumers, and the kingdom is committed to mitigating this volatility and moderating its negative impacts."

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, last month called for extending cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC producers beyond 2018, after a deal to throttle output succeeded in shoring up prices.

Oil prices fell from above $110 per barrel in 2014 to around $30 at the start of 2016. But the market has seen a turnaround since and oil prices are now close to $60.

However, oversupply remains a concern for the market.

Surging oil production in the United States is putting the brakes on crude prices, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

Shale producers, particularly in the US -- who are not party to the deal -- are ramping up output to cash in on rebounding crude prices.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih expressed confidence on Wednesday that cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC allies will stabilise oil markets.

"I am confident that our high degree of cooperation and coordination will continue to bring the desired results," Falih told an industry conference in Riyadh.

© 2018 AFP