Exports to the US will drop by 300,000 barrels per day this month with the reduced rate staying at that level for few months, a Saudi energy ministry official told Reuters, adding that other Persian Gulf producers could lower their output to the U.S.in March too and then make further cuts.
This will be a significant cut to the 1.3m bpd the US imported from Saudi suppliers in February, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
"Exports may fluctuate week on week, but on average in March exports will be down", the official said, responding to a Reuters request to comment on the EIA data. The official also said exports are expected to remain around the March level for the next few months. "The Saudis need the revenues from higher oil prices".
Oil prices have lifted slightly as Saudi Arabia plans to cut crude exports to the United States next month.
Crude oil prices are down by almost 12% in the month of March 2017.
Crude prices gained in Asia on Friday with sentiment cautious ahead of a weekend meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC producers to review compliance with an output cut agreement and as the USA reports rig count data. It settled on $47.70 on Thursday.
The price fluctuations of the United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, and the United States Brent Oil Fund (NYSEArca: BNO), which tracks Brent crude oil futures, and other oil exchange traded products are often tied to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The Saudi Arabia is expected to cut its exports to the United States entering March; the decrease of barrels per day will reach the 300,000 cap.
"This is mainly because there is a refinery maintenance in the US The cuts in exports will help the crude stockpiling in the US to go down", the official said.