Saudi Arabia Table of Contents
During the 1980s, crude oil production fell from a peak of 9.9 million bpd in 1980, as Saudi Arabia boosted output to offset shortfalls in supply resulting from the beginning of the IranIraq War, to 3.3 million bpd in 1985. Thereafter, and until the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, a combination of moves by the kingdom and developments in international oil markets allowed for a steady increase in supply. Production rose to 4.9 million bpd in 1986 and reached in excess of 5.8 million bpd on the eve of the Iraqi invasion. To replace most of the 4.5 million bpd of embargoed Kuwaiti and Iraqi oil, Saudi Arabia raised output to 8.5 million bpd within three months. After the Persian Gulf War, market conditions and maintenance projects required modest declines in output to below 8 million bpd, but the kingdom's output in 1991 and 1992 averaged 8.4 million bpd. Divided Zone output, which was included in this figure, fell to zero immediately after the Persian Gulf War as a result of the war damage, but the Arabian Oil Company facilities resumed pumping at levels close to 350,000 bpd within a few months. Half of this output was attributed to Saudi Arabia. Getty Oil facilities in the Divided Zone did not resume pumping oil after the Persian Gulf War.
The bulk of Saudi Arabia's crude oil production was exported. In 1980, for example, crude oil exports totaled about 9.2 million bpd or 93 percent of production. By 1985, with lower production, exports fell to below 2.2 million bpd (see table 7, Appendix). Over the latter half of the 1980s, exports have risen steadily to average 3.3 million bpd in 1989, 4.8 million bpd in 1990, and 6.8 million bpd in 1991 and 1992. Direction of exports has also varied during the 1980s. In the early 1980s, the United States and, to a lesser extent, Canada accounted for 15 percent of Saudi exports; by 1985 they accounted for only 6 percent. Lower oil prices and more aggressive pricing structures enabled Saudi Arabia to place greater quantities of oil in North America by the early 1990s when this market constituted almost one-third of Saudi crude oil sales overseas (see table 8, Appendix). By contrast, Western Europe's importance to Saudi Arabia as an importer of crude fell during the 1980s from 41 percent in 1981 to about 18 percent by 1990. Saudi Arabia has maintained its market presence in Asia, although the high levels of dependence of the mid-1980s have been reduced. Asia received 37 percent of Saudi crude oil exports in 1981, expanded its share to 68 percent by mid-decade, but with the kingdom's attempts to capture a greater share of the United States market, Asia imported a somewhat reduced 47 percent of Saudi crude oil exports by the early 1990s.
Data as of December 1992