The Trump administration is confident that key ally Saudi Arabia will fill any oil supply gap caused by US sanctions on Venezuela, with refineries along the Gulf Coast told not to expect any crude release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. White House officials are “certain” that Saudi Arabia will boost crude exports to the US in coming weeks, according to one source briefed by the Trump administration, who spoke on condition of anonymity. But Saudi officials have indicated no such plans, with OPEC in the midst of a production cut accord aimed at boosting oil prices.
The kingdom slashed its output to 10.21 million b/d in January, down almost 400,000 b/d from December’s level, according to the latest S&P Global Platts OPEC production survey. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih has said February output would go even lower. “The Saudis do not intend to increase exports,” said a source familiar with the kingdom’s views, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue. “There could be some tweaking of volumes from east to west, but we do not expect to see a lot at all.” Saudi officials did not respond to requests for comment.