Saudi Arabia Now World’s Biggest Oil Producer in Six Years

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | May 22, 2012 9:16 AM EST

Saudi Arabia has eclipsed Russia as the world's biggest oil producer first time in six years after the country in the Middle East jacked up its crude output to a 31-year high in March.

As Iran, second-largest oil producer according to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), reduced shipments, crude exports by Saudi Arabia ultimately registered a jump of 3 per cent in March, recording its highest level in five years, Bloomberg News reported, citing government statistics posted on the web site of the Joint Organization Data Initiative (JODI).

In March, Saudi Arabia improved its daily output by 0.7 per cent to come out with 9.923 million barrels a day, reaching its second-highest level figure since 1980, according to JODI.  

It displaced Russia's recorded March output, for the first time since February 2006, at 9.920 million barrels a day.

Supervised by the International Energy Forum (IEF) based in Riyadh, JODI collects data supplied by member governments. Composed of a number of nations, the IEF was created to act as a channel where producing and consuming countries can discuss energy security.

Saudi Arabia shipped 7.704 million barrels a day in March from 7.485 million barrels a day in February, further data from JODI showed, compared with Iran's exports which plummeted 4 per cent from 2.338 million barrels a day to 2.242 million barrels a day in February and March, respectively.

A European ban on Iranian crude oil purchases is scheduled to take effect on July, prompting consumers and importers from Europe, Japan and India to find alternative suppliers to address a steady and stable source.

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