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Sat 5 Jun 2010 08:03 PM

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Saudi Arabia cuts oil prices for all grades to Asia in July

Defacto OPEC leader has led production cuts, that were announced in 2008, to support prices.

Saudi Arabia cuts oil prices for all grades to Asia in July
LOWERED PRICES: Saudi Aramco has lowered official selling prices all crude grades being sold in Asia for July, while raising European prices. (Getty Images)

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest state owned oil company, lowered official selling prices for all crude grades for customers in Asia for July and raised prices to Europe and on some to the US.

The company lowered the formula price of its super Light crude the most, cutting it by 95 cents a barrel to $1.25 above the price of Oman/Dubai, the state oil company said in an emailed statement today.

The price of extra light crude fell 70 cents to 65 cents a barrel above the benchmark, while the light crude price fell 40 cents to a 20 cent a barrel discount. Medium crude prices were lowered by 15 cents to a discount of $1.75 a barrel, Dhahran based Aramco said.

Saudi Arabia’s state owned producer set the price for its extra light crude oil for July loadings for US buyers at $1.3 a barrel over the Argus Sour Crude Index, 40 cents lower than June. The discount for shipments of light crude to the US was widened to 40 cents a barrel from 35 cents.

Saudi Arabia was the fourth biggest exporter of crude to the US last year, dropping from second place in 2008, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration. Canada, Mexico and Venezuela all shipped more crude to the US, the data show.

July is the seventh month Aramco is pricing crude against the ASCI marker, an index of high sulfur oil from the Gulf of Mexico. The benchmark replaced a West Texas Intermediate price published by Platts, a unit of McGraw Hill Cos. WTI oil, a lighter, more expensive crude grade, trades as a futures contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Saudi Arabia, the largest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its defacto leader, has led production cuts announced in 2008 to support prices. OPEC decided at a March 17 meeting in Vienna to leave output quotas unchanged. Most OPEC members are exceeding their quota after prices rallied 78 percent last year.

The Arabian Gulf state was one of eight OPEC members with production limits to raise production in March, according to Bloomberg estimates. Saudi Arabia pumped 8.26 million barrels a day in April, 60,000 barrels a day more than in March and more than 200,000 barrels a day more than its quota.

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