Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has issued a strong signal that it will join Saudi Arabia in making more crude available to the international market.
Adnoc's marketing and refining directorate lifted restrictions yesterday on three of its four export grades of crude oil in a note to its customers.
From next month, only Murban crude oil will be limited "in accordance with Opec's decision to reduce production", the directorate said.
Shipments of Murban crude, the flagship Adnoc export grade, will be 10 per cent lower than normal contractual volumes next month. But for the first time in at least two years, the company did not announce cuts to shipments of its Lower Zakum, Umm Shaif and Upper Zakum crudes.
Last month, Adnoc announced 10 per cent cuts to requested shipments this month of Murban, Lower Zakum and Upper Zakum crudes, and a 5 per cent cut to cargoes of Umm Shaif crude. That followed a succession of even deeper monthly export cuts announced last year and in 2009.
Saudi Arabia has already increased exports to compensate for the loss of about half of Libya's 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) because of unrest.
Abu Dhabi has maintained a large cushion of spare production capacity since it agreed to cut output with the rest of Opec in 2008.
Industry officials estimate the UAE produced about 2.3 million bpd, leaving about 500,000 barrels of spare capacity.