(EnergyAsia, June 22 2012, Friday) — Saudi Arabia is expected to keep its crude oil production well below 10 million b/d after averaging around 9.8 million b/d in May.

The world’s leading crude oil exporter has more than achieved its earlier threat to bring down oil prices when it raised production to a 30-year high of over 10.1 million b/d in April.

Brent today touched an 18-month low of US$89.20 a barrel, sharply down from a high of US$128 a barrel reached earlier this year as the US government hunted down “speculators” while pressuring its oil producing allies to bring down prices.

The recent sharp drop in prices represent a huge victory for Saudi Arabia whose oil minister had spoken in favour of Brent at US$100 a barrel while OPEC hawks like Iran and Venezuela had sought higher prices.