Aramco is ready to ramp up oil production to 12 million bpd whenever the Saudi government asks this of the company, CEO Amin Nasser said this weekend, as quoted by Arab News.
Speaking at the presentation of Aramco’s second-quarter and first-half results, Nasser noted that global oil demand is exhibiting healthy growth, and more would be coming from Asia.
At the same time, the executive said he was worried about declining production rates at mature fields and the lack of investment in new oil exploration on a global scale.
In that, the Aramco chief executive echoed the concern of Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman, who has repeatedly said that low investments in new oil production are the basis of higher oil prices.
Indeed, Aramco’s Nasser said that next year could see 2 million bpd in additional global growth with no spare capacity to meet this higher demand.
In its latest Monthly Oil Market Report, OPEC forecast global oil demand growth at 3.1 million bpd this year, set to decline to 2.7 million bpd in 2023, with the total rising from about 100 million bpd in 2022 to 102.7 million bpd in 2023.
Saudi Arabia is the OPEC member with the greatest spare capacity, at least on paper, and Aramco earlier this year announced plans to boost what it calls Maximum Sustainable Capacity from the current level of 12 million bpd to 13 million bpd by 2027.
At the same time, the Saudis will not rush into production ramp-ups in anticipation of tighter oil markets. According to unnamed sources cited by Reuters earlier this month, Saudi Arabia and the UAE could increase their oil output significantly but would only do it if oil supply really tightened.
“With possibly no gas in Europe this winter, with a potential price cap on Russian oil sales in the New Year, we can’t be throwing every barrel on the market at the moment,” one of the sources explained.