Aramco Sees Output Fully Recovering by Month-End
Saudi Arabia has said it expects oil production to return to normal levels by the end of the month, following a drone and missile strike on September 14 that knocked out 5.7mn b/day of the kingdom’s supply.
“These synchronised attacks were timed to create maximum damage to our facilities and operations,” the head of national oil company Saudi Aramco, Amin Nasser, said at a news conference on September 17. “The rapid response and resilience demonstrated in the face of such adversity shows the company’s preparedness to deal with threats aimed at sabotaging Aramco’s supply of energy to the world.”
Yemeni rebels launched an attack on the Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia. The US claims Iran instigated the strike, although Saudi Arabia is yet to point the blame at its long-time adversary.
According to Aramco, operations at the Khurais oilfield, which had a maximum capacity of 1.45mn b/day at the end of last year, were fully restored within 24 hours. The Abqaiq complex, which processed 5mn b/day of oil last year, is currently running at 2mn b/day capacity, the company said. The complex should resume working at prior rates by the end of September.
Aramco’s guidance on how quickly output will recover has helped calm oil markets, with prices falling by 7% on September 17 after spiking the previous day.
The company touted its reliability as a supplier at the conference, even in the face of such a massive and unforeseeable outage.
“Not a single shipment to an international customer has been or will be missed or cancelled as a result of these attacks,” Nasser said. “We have proven that we are operationally resilient and have confirmed our reputation as the world’s leading supplier.”
Aramco said it had been relying on its inventories, and as well as increased production at unaffected fields, to meet its supply obligations.
The attacks come at a time when Riyadh is preparing to launch an initial public offering at Aramco, tarnishing the company’s image as a safe investment.
“We have said we are ready and will proceed with the IPO when our shareholder takes the decision,” Nasser told reporters.