Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest crude producer in December, when both countries started restricting supplies ahead of agreed cuts with other global producers to curb the worst glut in decades.
Russia pumped 10.49 million barrels a day in December, down 29,000 barrels a day from November, while Saudi Arabia’s output slid to 10.46 million barrels a day from 10.72 million barrels a day in November, according to data published Monday on the website of the Joint Organizations Data Initiative in Riyadh. That was the first time Russia beat Saudi Arabia since March.
Saudi Arabia together with other producers from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided to cut supplies by the end of November by 1.2 million barrels a day for six months starting Jan. 1, with Saudi Arabia instrumental in the plan. Non-member producers, including Russia, pledged additional curbs. Brent crude prices have climbed about 20 percent since the end of November.
The U.S. was the third-largest producer, at 8.8 million barrels a day in December compared with 8.9 million barrels a day in November, according to JODI. Iraq came in fourth at 4.5 million barrels a day, followed by China at 3.98 million barrels a day, the data show.
Saudi Arabia’s crude exports declined to 8 million barrels a day in December, from 8.26 million barrels a day, the biggest outflow for any month since May 2003, according to JODI data.