As Saudi Arabia continues to navigate its way in the new reality of the oil business, its recent steps to finally cut back production in order to stimulate price will have an additional component attached for the immediate future. That revenue-enhancing decision on February 2 by the Kingdom’s state-run company, Saudi Aramco, was that the oil giant would be increasing its March price for Arab Light crude oil for all of its customers.
The new price will be 30 cents higher than what they were for February, with geography playing a role in the different prices charged. The main areas affected include the United States, Northwest Europe, countries in the Mediterranean region and in Asia.
In the latter case, pricing for Asian countries takes on a different approach. Those different types of crude oil headed to that region of the world are priced according to their grade by using the Oman/Dubai benchmark price. The official price for March for those countries will be 15 cents more than the benchmark, which is above the expected 10 cents that oil analysts were projecting.
The Mediterranean countries will see price increases for all grades, while the Northwest European countries will have a separate increase attached to their Heavy Crude shipments. The Heavy Crude will mark the highest price paid since the start of the price drops in 2014, while all of the other grades will be boosted to their highest price in two years.
The added revenue will boost Saudi Aramco’s financial resources, yet still pales in comparison to what was flowing into their coffers earlier in the decade. One indication of how steep a drop was suffered in 2015 was that oil prices jumped 52 percent last year—and were still in the low $50’s for each barrel.