Aramco’s production capacity, suspended earlier due to terror attacks on its plants at Abqaiq and Khurais, would be fully restored by the end of September, Saudi Aramco President & CEO Amin Nasser said.
Speaking to media in Jeddah during a news conference with Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman, Minister of Energy, and Yasir Rumayyan, Chairman of Saudi Aramco, Nasser said: “These synchronised attacks were timed to create maximum damage to our facilities and operations. 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.”
Commending the work of the emergency response teams consisting of firefighters, operations, and security personnel in coordination with government agencies, Mr. Nasser said: “I am enormously proud of the courage, dedication and proficiency of our people who ensured there were no injuries.”
During the news conference, it was disclosed that production at Khurais resumed 24 hours after the attack. Meanwhile, Nasser stated that production at Abqaiq is currently 2 million barrels per day and its entire output is expected to be restored to prior rates by the end of September.
“We have a hard-earned reputation for nearly 100 percent reliability in terms of meeting our international customers’ requirements and we have defended that,” he told journalists from Saudi and international media.
The Company adjusted deliveries and shipments to customers by drawing on inventories and offering additional crude production from other fields.
“Not a single shipment to an international customer has been or will be missed or canceled as a result of these attacks. We have proven that we are operationally resilient and have confirmed our reputation as the world’s leading supplier,” Nasser said.
The company has met its commitments to its International customers, even in challenging situations, including past Gulf conflicts.”
The subject of the company’s Initial Public Offering was also discussed during the news conference and Nasser said: “We have said we are ready and will proceed with the IPO when our shareholder takes the decision.”
Rystad Energy chief oil market analyst Bjørnar Tonhaugen said: “Don’t get too excited. There is clear risk of a slower restart of Saudi Arabian oil production despite the optimistic guidance by Saudi Aramco.”
In a note to clients, Tonhaugen said it would be prudent to remain cautious about the guidance. Rystad Energy estimates that as much as 1.6 million bpd of Arab Light and 0.35 million bpd of Arab Extra Light production will remain shut-in on average for the months of September and October, with full restoration of pre-attack processing capacity only returning as we approach the end of the year.
“In our view, there is a clear risk of a slower resumption towards full capacity,” Tonhaugen added. “Repairs to the damaged spheroids and stabilization towers involve, to our understanding, access to expertise and spare parts which would take time to procure. Unless repairs happen much quicker than we expect, we estimate that the Abqaiq processing facility will only reach 90 per cent capacity by mid- November. The outage would then be reduced to 0.5 million bpd for the month of November at 5.2 million bpd production. For now, we expect production to remain slightly below full capacity for December.”