The United Arab Emirates cut its oil exports to the lowest level in almost two years last month, a sign that the country may be making good on its pledge to OPEC+ to compensate for pumping too much crude previously.
Shipments of crude and condensate fell to 2.43 million barrels a day in September, a decline of almost half a million barrels a day on August and the lowest since October 2018. The drop, about 480,000 barrels a day, includes a sharp decline in the second half of the month, tanker tracking data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Though it’s a loyal partner of Saudi Arabia within OPEC+, the UAE pumped over its agreed production limit in July, and admitted to doing the same again in August. When the producer group met in September, Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said that his nation wouldn’t exceed its production quota of 2.59 million barrels a day. The figure is only for crude, not condensates.
Shipments averaged 2.9 million barrels a day between Sept. 1 and Sept. 15, before sliding to 1.95 million between Sept. 16 and Sept. 30.
Though the export figures aren’t definitive proof that the UAE is now complying with its pledges, as some crude can still be consumed domestically, they are a signal that it may be shifting toward better compliance.
Flows to the country’s two top buyers — Japan and India — fell month on month September. At the same time, shipments of just 367,000 barrels a day to China were the lowest since February.
Saudi Arabia, which boosted shipments by about 500,000 barrels a day last month according to tracking, and Russia have pressured other countries to make compensatory output cuts in the event that they over-produce.
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