Saudi Aramco crude production recovering fast after Houthi drone attack
26 September 2019
Saudi Arabia has restored its oil production capacity to levels of around 11.3 million barrels per day, recording a faster than expected recovery after the 14 September attacks on its oil facilities, a Reuters report citing sources close to the development said.
Houthi drone attack on 14 September hit two Saudi Aramco plants – one in the Khurais field and the Abqaiq plant, forcing the plants to shut down half of the daily output.
Crude output from the Khurais field is now at 1.3 million bpd and the Abqaiq plant is currently at about 4.9 million bpd, up from 3 million bpd on Monday, the report quoted sources as saying.
The 14 September attacks on the two plants caused heavy damage to the two plants and crude production had to be halved by shutting down 5.7 million bpd of production. This has resulted in a spike in oil prices,
Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and the chief executive of state oil company Aramco, Amin Nasser, have said output will be fully back to normal by the end of September.
The attacks initially sent oil prices up 20 per cent although they dropped soon after as the kingdom pledged to bring back output swiftly. On Wednesday, crude was down over $1 a barrel to around $62. Saudi also managed to maintain supplies to customers at levels prior to the attacks by drawing from its huge oil inventories.
The September 14 attacks on state oil giant Aramco, however, escalated regional tensions.
While Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels claimed responsibility for the strikes, the US says the attacks involved cruise missiles from Iran and amounted to "an act of war".
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman today hosted Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi for talks focused on attacks on the kingdom's oil infrastructure, which Washington has blamed on Iran.
"The meeting dealt with regional developments, particularly the sabotage attacks on Saudi Aramco plants in Abqaiq and Khurais, stressing Iraqi keenness on the security and stability of the kingdom," the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.
Mahdi's expression of solidarity with Saudi Arabia comes amid a steady warming of ties between Baghdad and Riyadh after decades of strain.
On Wednesday, Iraqi oil minister Thamer al-Ghadban separately held talks with his Saudi counterpart Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, SPA reported.
By actively engaging Bagdad, Riyad is indicating a thawing of ties with Iraq as it seeks to counter Iran's strong presence in the Gulf.