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Exclusive: Saudi Arabia ready to raise oil output further to meet demand

Oil tanks seen at the Saudi Aramco headquarters during a media tour at Damam city November 11, 2007. REUTERS/ Ali Jarekji/Files

By Nidhi Verma

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia is ready to increase its oil output in the coming months to a new record to meet a rise in global demand, despite increased domestic use, a senior state oil company official said on Thursday.

Ahmed Al-Subaey, Saudi Aramco's executive director for marketing, told Reuters the world's top oil exporter was already talking to prospective Indian buyers for additional oil.

Saudi Arabia increased production in May to around 10.3 million barrels per day (bpd) - its highest rate on record - as a result of increased global demand.

Any increase in production in a market which already faces a glut would signal that OPEC is unrelenting in its decision to maintain global market share.

The strategy is seen as a major factor in the sharp decline in oil prices over the past year.

"We have plenty of crude... You are not going to see any cuts from Saudi Arabia," Al-Subaey said after meeting Indian oil officials in New Delhi.

Saudi Arabia has historically lowered its oil exports during the summer months when domestic demand peaks due to scorching temperatures and the need to power air conditioning.

"We have enough in reserves and we have enough production to do so. We will match whatever the need is. If the market requires it, we will provide it," he added.

Last Friday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to leave its output policy unchanged for another six months.

India was expected to be the main demand growth engine in the second half of this year while Chinese oil demand was stabilizing, The Aramco executive added.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma, writing by Ron Bousso; editing by David Clarke and William Hardy)