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In response to the void left by Venezuela’s strike-induced oil export deficit, Saudi Arabia opened up the taps, producing 9.2 million bopd during February. This compares to a normal rate between 7.5 and 8.0 million bopd. Crude exports from the Kingdom to the US were also well above the normal level of 1.5 million bopd. Saudi Arabia, which has a 10.5-million-bopd capacity, said that it would boost output still higher, if Iraqi supplies are disrupted by military action. Elsewhere in OPEC, the United Arab Emirates raised production slightly, to 2.2 million bopd vs. the normal 2.14 million bopd. However, outside the UAE and Saudi, most OPEC members are already producing flat out. In response to questions about high oil prices, one Saudi official said that one thing they will not do is raise production just to provide Western consumers with cheaper crude. They believe that this would be taking market intervention too far.
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