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Saudi oil output hits record high, says minister

Saudi's oil minister says he is prepared to improve oil prices, but needs cooperation from OPEC and non-OPEC producers
Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil producer and a key OPEC member (AFP)

Saudi oil production reached 10.3mn barrels per day (bdp) in March, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi has said, a figure that is the highest on record.

"Average daily output hit 10.3 million bpd in March," Naimi, cited by the official Saudi Press Agency, said on Tuesday night.

That was up 450,000 bpd on February and comes at a time of increasing competition for market share and as oil prices continued to drop.

The highest previous record was registered in 1980, at 10.285 million bpd, according to the US Energy Information Administration.  

Naimi expected the kingdom's production to continue at around 10 million bpd and also expected crude prices to improve.

He also said Saudi Arabia, OPEC kingpin and the world's top crude exporter, was prepared to help improve oil prices but needed cooperation from major OPEC and non-OPEC producers.

Last month, Naimi stressed that non-OPEC players - which produce 70 percent of the market - would have to be part of any move to boost prices.