The anonymous official made the comment to The Wall Street Journal Saturday, not long after US President Donald Trump claimed that the monarchy has agreed to raising the oil output to take on Iran and Venezuela.
Trump tweeted earlier Saturday that he has received assurances from King Salman that his kingdom would increase oil production, "maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels", in response to turmoil in Iran and Venezuela.
Opec agreed with Russian Federation and other oil producers to raise output by a million barrels per day earlier this month.
A further 2 million barrel per day increase would put Saudi Arabia's oil output almost at its maximum of 12 million barrels per day, as measured by the International Energy Agency. In addition, Saudi Arabia shares with Kuwait a so-called neutral zone that hasn't been used for the past couple of years and can pump as much as additional 500,000 barrels a day. It was only a few days ago that Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners said that they would add 1 mb/d of supply back onto the market, with many of them acknowledging that, in reality, the figures would be closer to 600,000 bpd because of the inability of so many producers to ratchet up output. Supply disruptions owing to geopolitical tensions, record global demand and positive outlook from analysts and investment banks aided positive momentum in the oil market.
"There is also some analysis from energy sector experts who say that Saudi Arabia could perhaps increase its daily output but it would only be for a very short time and the quality of the oil produced would be very low amd very hard to refine".
It was not immediately clear at what level of production Trump was referring to or by when. "While Saudi Arabia has the capacity in theory, it takes time and money to bring these barrels online, up to one year", she said.
It's not clear the USA will achieve a full halt, since even American allies are displeased with its unilateral abandonment of the deal that curbed Iran's nuclear program. Trump deemed the deal "defective" because it was aimed at lifting some sanctions from Tehran in exchange for curbing Tehran's nuclear capabilities by the involved parties.
If the U.S.is successful at convincing most countries to stop buying oil from Iran, the outages could rise to as high as 2 mb/d, although that remains speculation. But unplanned disruptions in Canada, Libya and Venezuela have made the world crude market tight, and many analysts and investors think strict enforcement of US sanctions will push up prices.
Helping driving prices higher is President Trump and his administration who has been warning countries no to go on using crude from Iran (China will ignore than).
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday accused Washington of trying to turn Iranians against their government.
Khalid Al Falih, Saudi Arabia's energy minister, stated that the new agreement implies an output increase of one million barrels per day, while other Opec members indicated an increase of 500,000 to 800,000 bpd.