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Saudi Arabia says the oil facility hit by drones and missiles will be fully functional again in 12 days

Bill Bostock , Business Insider US
 Sep 18, 2019, 05:14 PM
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  • Saudi Arabia says an oil facility peppered by 19 individual missile and drone strikes will return to full production capacity in just 12 days.
  • Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Tuesday the Saudi Aramco plant and oil field will be 100% functional by the end of September, and no customers would miss shipments.
  • Saturday's attack on the Khurais oil field and Abqaiq oil plant stopped 5% of the world's daily production of crude oil, equal to 5.7 million barrels.
  • Global markets spiralled at the news, with the price of oil rising 20% when the markets opened on Monday.
  • Senior US officials blamed Iran for the attack, but Donald Trump has flip-flopped over military action and dithered over identifying the culprit.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Saudi Arabia says its flagship oil facility, ravaged by drone and missile strikes on Saturday, will return to full production capacity by the end of September, in just 12 days time.

"Over the past two days we have contained the damage and restored more than half of the production that was down as a result of the terrorist attack," Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Tuesday.

The prince, addressing reporters at a press conference in the city of Jeddah, said that full, untapped functionality - 9.8 million barrels-per-day - will be achieved by the end of September.

The attack wiped about 5% of the world's daily production of crude oil, equal to about 5.7 million barrels.

Saudi Arabia is yet to formally accuse anyone of carrying out the attack, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo firmly blamed it on Iran.

Prince Abdulaziz said Saudi Aramco has emerged "like a phoenix from the ashes" from the attack, which the Saudi regime reportedly considers to be "their 9/11."

Business Insider's Rosie Perper previously reported that the kingdom is using some of its 187 million barrels of oil it keeps in reserve, which can cover about 28 days of global exports, to fill the gap left by the attack.

While the Aramco facility could be firing on all cylinders by the end of September, Saudi Arabia's total oil production capacity - 12 million barrels a day - will not return until November, the prince said.

Speaking after Prince Abdulaziz, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser reaffirmed the prince's pledge that the facility's production capacity will be back to normal by the end of September.

"Not a single shipment to an international customer has been or will be missed or canceled as a result of these attacks," he said.

"We have proven that we are operationally resilient and have confirmed our reputation as the world's leading supplier."

Nasser said Aramco is currently calculating the cost of repairs, but said the bill was "not that significant."

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, chairman of Saudi Aramco, later told the press conference the company's initial public offering (IPO), which is expected to be the largest ever, is "surely going forward" within the next 12 months.

"These acts of sabotage that took place will not stop the the company," he said.

Saudi Arabia on Monday said Iranian weapons were used in the strikes on its major oil facility, Reuters reported, but the kingdom has so far stopped short of directly accusing Iran of perpetrating the attack.

US officials told NBC News on Tuesday that low-altitude cruise missiles which hit the Aramco plant were fired from sites in western Iran.

Global markets spiralled after news of the attack broke, with the price of oil spiking 20% to almost $63 per barrel when markets opened on Monday.

It has since shed around 7% of that value, and is trading at $58.80 on Wednesday, up from around $54.85 before the attack.

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