OPEC's biggest producer exported 7.232 million bpd in March, up from 6.957 million bpd in February, according to data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI). It pumped 9.90 million bpd in March, down from 10.011 million bpd the month before. Riyadh led OPEC and other producers in December to curtail output and drain a supply glut. OPEC is curbing its output by about 1.2 million bpd from Jan. 1, the group's first reduction in eight years. Russia and 10 other non-OPEC producers agreed to cut half as much.
Despite the rise in Saudi crude exports in March, shipments are down around 300,000 bpd when compared with the same month last year, according to the JODI data.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC are meeting in Vienna on May 25 to deicide on output policy. It is widely expected the oil producers will extend the pact beyond June in a bid to bring global oil inventories down to the industry's five-year average.
Saudi Arabia used 305,000 bpd of crude oil to generate power in March, up from 283,000 bpd in February, while Saudi demand for oil products remained almost unchanged at 2.126 million bpd in March from 2.131 million the month before.
Monthly export figures are provided by Riyadh and other members of OPEC to JODI, which publishes them on its website.
(Reporting by Rania El Gamal; editing by Susan Thomas) ((email@example.com; +971 562 160 434; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))
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