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Tue 1 Oct 2019 07:43 AM

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Saudi Aramco fully restores oil output as it recovers from attacks

Saudi Arabia has also restored some spare capacity following the September 14 attacks

Saudi Aramco fully restores oil output as it recovers from attacks
Employees of Aramco oil company work in Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq oil processing plant.

Saudi Aramco is producing more than 9.9 million barrels a day of crude as it fully recovers from the worst ever attacks on its energy infrastructure.

Output reached that level on September 25 and is a “little bit” higher now, Ibrahim Al-Buainain, chief executive officer of state-owned Aramco’s energy trading unit, said at Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia has also restored some spare capacity following the September 14 attacks, he said.

“On the 25th, yes, we reached that target of production,” he said. “We produce depending on the market and depending on capacity, so actually we are a little bit higher than this.”

Aramco has said it’s committed to meeting demand from all of its customers and didn’t miss any contracted shipments. Oil markets surged after a swarm of explosives-laden drones and missiles struck some of Saudi Arabia’s biggest processing plants, knocking out about 5% of global crude supply with one blow.

Al-Buainain had initially expected the strikes to push oil prices higher by $10 a barrel. While Brent surged as much as $11.73 on the first trading day after the attacks, it has since given up most of that gain as Aramco has quickly restored capacity and production, while global demand concerns remain.

Aramco is building redundancy into its systems that allowed the company to be resilient to the assault on the Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais field, Al-Buainain said.

The attacks, however, highlighted the fragility of global supply chains and the vulnerability of Saudi Arabia’s lifeblood industry, and they raised the risk to reliable flows from the Persian Gulf after a series of tanker bombings in May and June.

Aramco cut refinery runs at home in the days following the strikes to make more crude available to customers and offered some of those buyers alternative grades to meet its supply commitments. Aramco Trading, which Al-Buainain heads, also bought refined products on the market to make up for any shortfalls in fuels at home.

Aramco Trading, officially known as Saudi Aramco Products Trading Co., buys and sells crude produced in other countries and procures non-Saudi oil for the company’s joint-venture refiners.

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