Tuesday, 21 March, 2023

Saudi Aramco increases oil prices for Asia, US, Europe customers

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has increased oil prices for customers in Asia, the US and Europe, after the price of crude rose to almost $95 a barrel.

State company Saudi Aramco increased prices for all grades for its main market of Asia in March, sources said.

The company raised its key Arab Light oil for the region by 60 cents from February to $2.80 per barrel above the benchmark it uses, report agencies.

Prices for other Asian grades jumped by between 40 and 70 cents a barrel. US prices were increased by 30 cents.

Brent crude has climbed about 20 per cent in 2022 to more than $93 a barrel. The price rose as global consumption remains strong despite the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

In addition, oil stockpiles have fallen in the past year and many major producers are struggling to pump more.

Aramco’s decision came days after Opec+ opted to increase its daily crude production by 400,000 barrels next month, in line with traders’ expectations.

Many energy analysts doubt the group, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, will add that much back to the market because of the supply problems among some of its members.

Saudi Aramco is the world’s biggest oil exporter. More than 60 per cent of its shipments go to Asia, with China, Japan, South Korea and India being the biggest buyers.

Aramco’s pricing moves often set the tone for other producers in the Middle East.