Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil giant says production reached record level last year as global demand surged and international sanctions sharply trimmed output from rival Iran.

Gulf Arab states have stepped up crude production to compensate for Iranian exports, which have dropped as major customers such as India and China face pressures from the West to trim their purchases from Tehran.

Sanctions over Iran's nuclear program have targeted Tehran's critical oil exports.

The Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramco, said Tuesday that oil production rose to 3.479 billion barrels in 2012, compared with 3.310 billion barrels in 2011. A statement on the Aramco website says it was the highest production in the company's history.

It says exports reached 2.521 billion barrels last year, up from 2.421 billion barrels in 2011.