A gas flame is seen in the desert near the Khurais oilfield, about 160 km (99 miles) from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia June 23, 2008. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji
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Saudi Arabia, a country nearly synonymous with plentiful crude supplies, is offering one of the strongest signs yet that the glut that has plagued the oil market since 2014 is coming to an end. Despite near record production, the kingdom's oil inventories have declined for six consecutive months, the longest stretch since the Joint Organizations Data Initiative started tracking Saudi supply levels nearly 15 years ago.Since October, when Saudi supplies reached a record high, stocks have fallen by 38.6 million barrels as the kingdom provided more crude to the market than it pumped from its oilfields. Over the same period, U.S. crude stocks increased by nearly 61 million barrels. Unless the kingdom increases production or reduces exports, the stock draw will deepen as Saudi Arabia uses significantly more crude between June and September to produce electricity for cooling during the sweltering summer months.The kingdom burned 500,000 barrels a day at its power stations in April, the most for the month since at least 2009 .
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