Saudi Arabia tells OPEC it reduced its oil output in August by 400,000 bpd, a cutback coinciding with a drop in oil prices towards the kingdom's preferred level of $100 a barrel.
LONDON, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia told OPEC it reduced its oil output in August by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), a cutback coinciding with a drop in oil prices towards the kingdom's preferred level of $100 a barrel.
In a monthly report issued on Wednesday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries also cut its forecasts for demand for OPEC crude this year and next, pointing to a supply surplus of more than 1 million bpd in 2015 if OPEC keeps output at current levels.
Oil prices have slid due to concern about weakening demand and ample supplies, raising the question of whether Saudi Arabia, holder of the world's largest spare output capacity, will curb output. Brent crude fell below $100 on Monday for the first time in 14 months.
Riyadh, supported by Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, has boosted supply informally to cover for unplanned outages in other OPEC members in recent months including in Libya, which is now seeing its production recover.
Saudi Arabia told OPEC that it produced 9.597 million bpd in August, down from 10.005 million bpd in July. Still, analysts noted its output often falls when domestic demand for air conditioning declines from its summer peak and lower production does not necessarily mean lower exports.
"I think we can be pretty sure the Saudis are cutting," said Samuel Ciszuk, analyst at the Swedish energy agency. "But maybe the crude burning has come down a bit and I'm sceptical that they have reduced exports by as much as 400,000 bpd."
So far, OPEC officials have not expressed a pressing concern about the drop in prices, seeing it as a temporary dip and predicting prices will rise as higher seasonal demand kicks in due to colder weather.
Kuwait's OPEC governor said on Wednesday she expected prices to rise and maintain the $100-a-barrel level.
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