Saudi Arabia expects to reduce oil output once again in February and pump for six months at levels "well below" the production limit it accepted under OPEC's oil-cuts accord, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said.
The world's biggest exporter targeted production of 10.2 million barrels a day in January and is aiming to pump about 10.1 million in February, he said, Bloomberg reported.
Saudi Arabia's voluntary limit under the December cuts deal with Russia and other producers was 10.33 million barrels a day.
"Saudi Arabia will be well below the voluntary cap that we agreed to" and will pump beneath its ceiling "for the full six months" of the December cuts accord, he said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Riyadh.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, a coalition known as OPEC+, agreed to pare production starting this month in an effort to buttress sagging oil prices. Crude futures have gained this year as Saudi Arabia leads the way in curbing output amid a surge in U.S. shale-oil supplies. Benchmark Brent crude was trading 42 cents higher at $60.35 a barrel at 10:37 a.m. in Dubai.
"Demand will start picking up at the end of the first quarter and into the second quarter," Al-Falih said. The impact of OPEC+ output reductions "will trickle down into the global markets over the next few weeks."