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U.S. market still ripe for Saudi oil

March 6, 2013 at 5:32 AM

HOUSTON, March 6 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia remains committed to the United States as a key export market despite a surge in U.S. oil production, Saudi Aramco's chief said in Houston

Khalid al-Falih, chief executive officer at Saudi Arabian Oil Co., told the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston the U.S. market remains attractive because southern refiners are set up to handle Saudi Arabia's sour blend of crude oil.

"We're committed to the U.S. market," he was quoted by Bloomberg News as saying."The outlook from our customers is that they will continue to require our crude for a long time to come."

The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude oil production topped 7 million barrels per day at the end of February. Much of the production is from the Bakken oil field in North Dakota, where production has experienced steady increases.

The EIA reports that Saudi Arabia sent 920,000 bpd to the United States for the monthlong period ending Feb. 22, almost 40 percent less than it did during the same time last year.

Still, Saudi Aramco holds the world's largest proven oil reserves.

"Exaggerated concerns about scarcity and security of oil supplies have been dispelled," Falih said. "It is now more certain that our industry will continue to play the major role in fueling the transport, power and chemical sectors for many decades to come."

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