Oil demand is rising slowly, helping to stabilise the oil market, Saudi Aramco's chief executive was reported as saying yesterday.
The world's top oil exporter stood ready to meet any future supply needs, Khalid Al Falih told the Al Watan newspaper.
"Prices have started to recover and demand for oil is rising gradually," Watan reported Falih as saying. "Aramco stands ready for all possibilities to supply energy."
The kingdom's oil output capacity stood at 12.5 million barrels per day (bpd), Al Falih reiterated.
Saudi Arabia completed a huge expansion plan to boost crude output capacity last year. Aramco concluded the expansion while world oil demand fell with the global recession, leaving the kingdom with a larger-than-expected buffer to meet any future demand increase or surprise outage in global supply.
The kingdom has about 4.5 million bpd in spare capacity, well above the 1.5 million to two million bpd cushion it likes to keep to compensate for any sudden interruptions in supply elsewhere.
Saudi Arabia is the only oil producer in the world with significant spare capacity that can be quickly deployed.
The Gulf Arab state pumped 8.16 million bpd in December, according to a Reuters survey.
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