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Saudi Arabia regains top crude producer spot

The sun sets over an oil refinery in Saudi Arabia.
Pete Turner | Riser | Getty Images

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter, is now also the top producer, displacing Russia from the lead, according to the latest update by the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI), a source of oil production, consumption and export data.

OPEC's heavyweight pumped 10.19 million barrels per day (bpd) in August, the highest level in over 30 years, compared to 10.034 million bpd in July. Russia, which has been jostling for the position with Saudi Arabia, produced 10.062 million bpd.

Although Saudi Arabia was able to improve on the record-breaking production figure of June 2012, it fell short of the export share of 7.843 million bpd, data published by JODI late Sunday showed.

(Read more: Eni CEO says Libya can be the next oil and gas paradise)

The uptick in production, and an export boost of 4.35 percent or 325,000 bpd compared to the previous month, is understood to offset shortfalls emanating from disruptions in Libya, which has not filed any data all year. Oil-wealthy Gulf states have already been pumping at historically high levels, a development bound to fuel anxiety about eroding spare capacity.

JODI's revised data set offered other significant insights. Iraq produced 3.207 million bpd, marking a return to levels last seen in September 2012. Month-on-month exports rose as well by 255,000 bpd.

Output in the United States was 7.590 million bpd, the highest since May 1989, according to EIA archives. Only last week energy consultancy PIRA estimated the US was already the world's largest producer in terms of total liquid output, with more gains expected from the shale revolution.

(Read more: US steals mantle of top oil producer from Saudis: Survey)

Iran and the United Arab Emirates remained notable absentees in the tables.

JODI, an initiative coordinated by the International Energy Forum (IEF), depends on participating member states for data collection.

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