Saudi to slash oil exports after price slide: Minister

The kingdom took a first step in that direction on Wednesday by releasing the first audit of Aramco's oil and gas reserves since 1980.

However, "a cause for concern is that the EIA (Energy Information Administration) data was not all rosy, as the crude drawback of 1.7 million barrels came below market expectation of a 2.5 million barrel draw back", he added.

However, the source said that the refinery would likely to cost around $4 billion to $8 billion and will have the capacity up to 0.4 million barrels per day.

Allowing an independent company to assess its reserves represents a major shift for Saudi Arabia, which has for decades closely guarded data about its oil and gas industry.

Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp) made the prediction in a report as the oil price again ticked higher, supported by the hopes that talks between China and the U.S. would defuse current trade tensions.

Al-Falih is also the current chairperson of Maaden, a Saudi Arabian mining company and former chairperson of the Saudi oil giant, Aramco.

Saudi Arabia pumped oil at record levels in 2018, including output of 11 million barrels a day in November.

"This certification underscores why every barrel we produce is the most profitable in the world, and why we believe Saudi Aramco is the world's most valuable company and indeed the world's most important", he said.

Saudi Arabia's reserves of easily recoverable oil have always been the world's largest.

The world's biggest oil exporter revised up its hydrocarbon reserves on Wednesday after consultants DeGolyer & MacNaughton finished conducting an audit of the deposits for the end of December 2017.

It was the first time Riyadh has tapped worldwide debt markets since the October murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which tarnished Saudi Arabia´s public image.

The operation was not fully concluded, so the interest rates have not yet been calculated.

Vanessa Coleman