KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia, Nov 8 (Reuters) - OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia has cut back oil output that had held at record rates of around 10 million barrels a day for three months running to help offset a plunge in output from fellow OPEC member Libya.
The world's top oil exporter turned down the taps to 9.75 million barrels per day (bpd) in October - versus 10.1 million bpd the previous month, an industry source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
"I don't read too much into the Saudi reduction," said Richard Mallinson, geopolitical risk analyst at Energy Aspects.
"Production is still at a high level, summer demand may have eased a bit and the market was slightly better supplied."
The industry source said it was typical for there to be a reduction in the amount of crude oil burned for power generation at this time of year.
The kingdom's major oil customers say there was no sign of big Saudi cuts in exports last month and that the drop mostly reflected reduced domestic crude burning.
Riyadh lifted output to 10.05 million bpd in August, the highest since records begin in 1980, according to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
It pumped around that record rate during the third quarter before slowing down in October.
David Fuller's view Saudi Arabia is
still the swing producer in terms of global oil output. It increased production
in August, as WTI crude was approaching
the 2011 and 2012 highs just above $100 a barrel. More importantly, Brent
crude was also approaching the upper side of its trading range over the
last three years.
The last thing our slowly growing global economy needs is another oil spike, as we last saw in 2008. Since at least the 1960s, there has been no more certain cause of a global recession than surging oil prices. While this is a slowly diminishing outside risk, it has yet to go away because countries have been slow to develop their shale oil and gas resources, with the main exception of the USA.