Saudi Arabia says its strategy of squeezing high-cost rivals such as US shale producers is succeeding, as the world's largest crude exporter seeks to reassert itself as the dominant force in the global oil market.
The kingdom's production rose to a record high of 10.3m barrels a day in April and there is no sign that it plans to reverse its policy at next month's meeting of Opec, the producers' cartel, in Vienna.
"There is no doubt about it, the price fall of the last several months has deterred investors away from expensive oil including US shale, deep offshore and heavy oils," a Saudi official told the Financial Times in Riyadh, giving a rare insight into the kingdom's thinking on oil strategy.
The International Energy Agency, the world's leading energy forecaster, on Wednesday released data backing up the Saudi position. The agency said that with the number of rigs running in the US plunging by 60 per cent in response to lower oil prices, US shale oil production had "buckled" in April, "bringing a multiyear winning streak to an apparent close".