Saudi energy minister says oil output to be fully restored by end of the month

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14, 2019 in this picture obtained from social media. (REUTERS)
Updated 18 September 2019

Saudi energy minister says oil output to be fully restored by end of the month

  • Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Saudi Arabia will continue as secure supplier of global oil markets
  • Oil prices dropped about six percent Tuesday after the energy minister's comments

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia said Tuesday its oil output will return to normal by the end of September, seeking to soothe rattled energy markets after attacks on two instillations that slashed its production by half.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told a press conference in Jeddah that half of the production knocked out by the attacks was already back up and running. He said the Kingdom had dipped into its stored reserves to ensure supply continued as normal.

"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," said the minister.

"I have good news for you... the oil output to international markets is back to what it was before the attack," he said.

The Prince said Saudi Arabia would keep its role as the secure supplier of global oil markets. He added that the Kingdom, the world’s leading oil exporter, needs to take strict measures to prevent further attacks.

“Where would you find a company in this whole world that went through such a devastating attack and came out like a phoenix?” he said

Oil prices dropped about six percent Tuesday after the energy minister’s comments, steadying markets that had jumped amid concerns of supply and instability in the region.

The attacks on Saturday on the Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais oil field halved the Kingdom’s production and shut off about five percent of global oil output.

The Kingdom will achieve 11 million barrels per day (bpd) capacity by the end of September and 12 million bpd by the end of November, Prince Abdulaziz.

Oil production in October would be 9.89 million bpd and the world’s top oil exporter would keep full oil supplies to customers this month, he said.

“We don’t know who is behind the attack,” Prince Abdulaziz said, adding that the kingdom wants “proof based on professionalism and internationally recognised standards.”

The US has blamed Iran for the attack and sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia amid heightened tensions.

Saudi Arabia’s defense ministry is to present evidence on Wednesday of Iranian involvement, as well as weapons used, in the attacks. 

Aramco chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan said the attacks would not effect the upcoming IPO of his company.

Chief Executive Amin Nasser said the company was still in the process of estimating repair work but that it was “not that significant.”

“We had to deal with an unprecedented attack,” he said. “We had to tackle 10 fires raging simultaneously — three in Khurais and seven in Abqaiq. It took us less than seven hours to put these fires out, which is amazing considering that we were dealing with hydrocarbons, gas and oil.”

He added that production at Khurais resumed only 24 hours after the attack and has gradually increased since then. Production at Abqaiq is at 2 million bpd, with output expected to be restored to prior levels by the end of September.

“These synchronized attacks were timed to create maximum damage to our facilities and operations,” said Nasser. “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.”

Praising the efforts of emergency-response teams, including firefighters and operations and security personnel, in coordination with government agencies, he added: “I am enormously proud of the courage, dedication and proficiency of our people, who ensured there were no injuries. We have a hard-earned reputation for nearly 100 percent reliability in terms of meeting our international customers’ requirements and we have defended that.”

Aramco ensured deliveries would continue 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,” said Nasser. “We have proven that we are operationally resilient and have confirmed our reputation as the world’s leading supplier.”

• With AFP, AP and Reuters

Misk Initiatives Center signs 12 deals to develop youth talent

Updated 15 November 2019

Misk Initiatives Center signs 12 deals to develop youth talent

  • MoUs with top firms such as Chinese tech giant Huawei, French oil major Total open new opportunities

RIYADH: The Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Foundation Misk Initiatives Center has signed 12 memorandums of understanding (MoU) on the sidelines of the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh with local and international companies to support and develop youth talent.

Among the companies were the Chinese tech giant Huawei, the French oil firm Total, the Emirati Federal Youth Authority, and the Ministry of Economy and Planning.

The agreements stipulated joint work between the two parties in the fields of talent development in Saudi Arabia and information and communications technology, in accordance with the National Transformation Program 2020 and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

This initiative aims to find ways of cooperation and employment opportunities between the two parties.

The MoU signed between the center and the Emirati Federal Youth Authority provides for the enhancement of joint cooperation in support of youth. 

The two parties will seek to discuss future cooperation, to build a strategic partnership between the two parties in exploring potential cooperative opportunities and setting a framework for such cooperation, in addition to organizing the exchange of technologies and innovations through the joint organization of courses, forums and workshops.

The MoU aims at creating a specialized scientific dialogue between the two parties, conducting joint research at the institutes in the field of entrepreneurship and the skills of the future, considering launching joint initiatives, and examining the possibilities of cooperative programs based on the extensive experience of Misk and the Federal Youth Authority.

Misk’s Initiatives Center agreement with Total will promote joint cooperation, find training opportunities for Saudi talent at the company’s headquarters and facilities, and cooperate on educational programs that support entrepreneurship and an ecosystem for startup companies, especially in the fields of energy and technology.

The Misk Global Forum also witnessed the signing of a MoU with “Hub71” to promote learning and leadership among Saudi youth, and enhance opportunities for joint collaboration, in addition to two MoUs with 500 startups and seed stars “to promote joint cooperation between the two parties, to develop and grow the business of startups and provide them with the necessary

Misk also signed a MoU with the Public Institution for Education and Global Leadership to promote joint cooperation and achieve the objectives of both sides, to support innovation initiatives that instill the entrepreneurial mindset of young people, as well as the establishment and organization of entrepreneurship approaches. 

Both parties agreed to focus on exploring potential collaborative opportunities related to the Entrepreneurship World Cup, and establish a competition with competitors coming from 170 countries.

Both parties also agreed to support international competitions aimed at identifying the best solutions in various fields and sectors, as well as exchanging programs on entrepreneurship and innovation.

The center has signed a MoU with the Saudi Industrial Development Fund to discuss the possibility of providing training programs and courses for the center’s employees of the Fund and the relevant authorities. In addition to discussing available opportunities for cooperative training within the Fund, and providing opportunities for participation and contribution of the Fund’s staff in Misk’s programs.

The MoU aims to explore the benefits of existing agreements between the two parties with international financial and educational institutions, in order to find opportunities that provide programs, training and educational courses, and granting cooperative trainings for Saudi youth in those global institutions.

The center also signed a MoU with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), aiming to enhance joint cooperation on educational technology and its integration into the educational systems in the Islamic world.

An MoU with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) will enhance the cooperation between the two parties in several initiatives, including academic development, training, entrepreneurship and innovation programs.

An MoU with Endeavor Saudi Arabia will support the Kingdom’s youth, enhance their talents and potential, stimulate economic growth, and find ways of cooperation between the two parties that serve their common interests.

The center’s MoU with the Ministry of Economy and Planning aims to spread awareness, provide new information on the education and training of human resources in the administrative and economic fields, youth empowerment, and coordinate efforts to raise their abilities.

The MoU aims to create cooperative training opportunities in local and international institutions with the purpose of workforce growth in the Kingdom’s economic sector, contributing to the development of national competencies in the economy, policies and procedures, strategic planning, in addition to providing job opportunities for graduates from areas that serve the interests of both parties and support the achievement of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.