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CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s oil refineries witnessed a 16.6 percent annual increase in output in March 2022, according to data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative, also known as JODI.

The output volume surged to 2.83 million barrels per day in March 2022 from 2.43 million bpd in the same month a year earlier, an increase of 403,000 barrels per day. Total output by refineries also grew 2.8 percent from the previous month. 

Gas (diesel oil) production also increased by 13.9 percent as compared to March 2021. However, the output grew 5.7 percent month-on-month as opposed to declines of 0.6 percent in February and 7 percent in January 2022.

Gas — or diesel oil — constituted 42.2 percent of the total refinery output in March 2022, whereas motor and aviation gasoline, which showed the highest year-on-year increase in share contribution of 2.5 percentage points, constituted 23.2 percent of the total output in the same period.

The third largest contributor in refinery output — fuel oil —  plunged by 4.6 percent as compared to February 2022. But this is not the first time the production of fuel oil has dropped. Last year, between August and September, fuel oil saw an 18 percent growth, only to drastically decline by 7.9 percent in the month after.

The share of kerosene in the total refinery output grew 0.3 percentage points from 5.6 percent in March 2021. Likewise, liquified petroleum gas also experienced small growth of 0.6 percentage points year-on-year, while naphtha’s share dropped by 3.7 percentage points.

The three smallest components of refinery output — kerosene, naphtha, and liquid petroleum gas — made up 12.2 percent of the total at 5.9 percent, 4.3 percent, and 2 percent, respectively.

The rest of the oil products constituted 4.8 percent of the total refinery output, and the share little changed year-on-year.

Product exports

As for the Kingdom’s product exports, JODI data revealed an overall increase of 34.2 percent year-on-year in March 2022, from 1.11 million bpd to 1.5 million bpd. Meanwhile, it didn’t perform as proficiently in terms of month-on-month growth, where it experienced a 12.2 percent reduction from 1.7 million bpd in February 2022.

While the share of motor and aviation gasoline in total product exports showed another influential increase of 9.2 percent annual growth to 19.4 percent in March 2022, the month-on-month growth has slowed from 52 percent in February 2022 to 9.9 percent in March 2022.

According to data compiled by Arab News, motor and aviation gasoline exports have faced volatilities as another sharp month-on-month decline of 16.4 percent occurred in January 2022.

Gas (diesel) oil, being the No.1 exported oil product, endured a decline of 10 percentage points in its share contribution to total product exports over the past year, decreasing from 55 percent to 44 percent in March 2022.

Observers may recall that gas oil exports plunged by 24 percent in September 2021. However, the exports recorded 13 percent growth in the following two months.

The volumes shipped abroad plunged again by 19.7 percent in January 2022 only to rise slightly to 3 percent in February. Finally, in March 2022, we witnessed another 3.4 percent decline on a month-on-month basis. 

As for fuel oil, its share in total exports amounted to 16 percent in March 2022, making it the third largest exported product. In addition to that, its share in total exports increased by 5.4 percentage points from March 2021. Yet, in terms of month-on-month growth, it performed poorly, having decreased by 25.6 percent in March 2022. This is in contrast with the previous month when it showed a positive growth of almost 30 percent, following the 38 percent increase in January 2022. The fall in March has been the highest monthly drop since a decline of 32 percent in August 2021.

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