Advertisement

Saudi Arabia set to increase oil production to record high amid OPEC dispute

Markets, oil prices plunge over COVID-19 fears
WATCH: Markets, oil prices plunge over COVID-19 fears

Saudi Arabia‘s state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco said Tuesday it would increase its crude oil production to 12.3 million barrels a day in April, a record amount.

The move seems to make good on the country’s promise over the weekend to increase output after Russia refused to co-operate on cutting production. That led to a 25 per cent plunge in the price of crude on Monday, the sharpest decline seen since the 1991 Gulf War. International benchmark Brent crude traded up over 7 per cent Tuesday at nearly $37 a barrel.

In a filing made Tuesday on Riyadh’s Tadawul stock market, Aramco — formally known as the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. — said that the increase in production represented a rise of 300,000 barrels per day.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — How is the COVID-19 outbreak affecting gas prices in Canada?

“The company has agreed with its customers to provide them with such volumes starting 1 April 2020,” it said in the filing. “The company expects that this will have a positive, long-term financial effect.”

Story continues below advertisement

Saudi Aramco shares were up 9.7 per cent in trading Tuesday on the Tadawul to 30.95 riyals, or $8.25, giving the world’s most-valuable company a valuation of $1.65 trillion.

It came a day after Aramco shares collapsed by 10 per cent and were pulled from trading for reaching the Tadawul’s maximum permitted loss in a day, dropping its valuation to $1.4 trillion. Aramco had offered only a sliver of its shares on the Tadawul for investors.

COVID-19: Stock markets in Canada, crude oil prices collapse
COVID-19: Stock markets in Canada, crude oil prices collapse

Aramco’s decision likely will flood global energy markets and put further pressure on prices. The company had reached $2 trillion in early days of trading in December.

Saudi state television later quoted Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman as saying the kingdom didn’t see the need for an OPEC meeting in May and June.

Story continues below advertisement

“Every oil producer in the free market can take care of their own market share,” the energy minister said, according to state TV.

The lower oil prices come as there’s less demand for air travel amid the spread of the new coronavirus around the world, further depressing prices. However, that likely will push down gasoline prices at the pump for Americans. On average, a gallon of regular unleaded in the U.S. sold for $2.36 a gallon, according to AAA, down from $2.43 a month ago.