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Saudi crude stockpiles grow

May 8, 2012 at 9:26 AM

TOKYO, May 8 (UPI) -- Analysis of the Saudi Arabian oil sector finds stockpiles are up because of domestic demand, though a minister said Riyadh was responding to the global market.

A report from Goldman Sachs Group, cited by Bloomberg News, finds Saudi Arabia boosted its oil inventories by 35.4 million barrels from December to February. In an April report, the bank said Riyadh was building crude stockpiles to address domestic demands.

Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are addressing pricing concerns on the global market. Bloomberg notes that while crude oil prices have retreated somewhat, they're still up nearly 5 percent from the beginning of the year.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said from Tokyo oil prices on the global market were "still a little bit high," Bloomberg reported. He said Riyadh has around 2.5 million barrels per day worth of spare production capacity and was storing crude oil "because of the situation in the world."

During the early part of 2012, concerns Iran would close key oil-shipping lanes through the Strait of Hormuz pushed oil prices to historic highs. There were no physical market disruptions, however.

Naimi was quoted by Bloomberg as saying the increase in stockpiles has "nothing to do" with domestic demand.

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