Dubai: State-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Aramco, saw its average crude production rise to 9.506 million barrels a day in 2012, the highest level in more than three decades, up from 9.067 million barrels a year earlier amid output outages in Libya and Western sanctions against Iranian crude.
Recoverable and proven crude-oil and condensate reserves also increased to 260.2 billion barrels in 2012, compared with 259.7 billion barrels in 2011, Saudi Aramco said in an annual review posted on its website. Exports of crude reached 2.521 billion barrels for the year, or about 6.9 million barrels a day, up from 2.421 billion barrels, or 6.63 million barrels a day in 2011.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, has played an important role in the last two years as one of the few countries with enough spare production capacity to respond to market changes.
The kingdom’s highest record output was 9.901 million barrels a day in 1980, when it opened the taps to make up for a sharp fall in Iranian output after its 1979 revolution.
Saudi Arabia’s current capacity stands at 12.5 million barrels a day, a level it believes is well beyond current levels demanded and a reliable buffer against any temporary loss of production in the market.
Aramco’s gas production averaged 10.72 billion cubic feet a day in 2012 from 9.88 billion cubic feet a day in 2011, while gas reserves rose to 284.8 trillion standard cubic feet from 282.6 trillion standard cubic feet.
Saudi Aramco is fully owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world with activities in exploration, production, refining, distribution, shipping and marketing.