By Anthony DiPaola, Khalid Al-Ansary and Will Kennedy
Armed drones and missiles attacked Saudi Aramco’s largest crude-processing facility at Abqaiq and the Khurais oil field on Saturday, causing the company to temporarily halt more than half its production. Aramco restored about 40% of the interrupted capacity this week and is using stored crude to help meet customer requirements.
Oil prices rose as much as 3.1% in London on Thursday after reports that Aramco had contacted Iraq’s state oil marketer SOMO with a request to buy as much as 20 million barrels of crude. The people familiar with the companies’ operations, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak with the media, said that wasn’t correct.
Saudi Arabian Oil Co., as the producer is officially known, declined to comment.
Aramco is evaluating supplying its international joint-venture refineries with additional volumes of non-Saudi crude, according to the people. The trading unit has bought and sold Iraqi crude cargoes in the past, with deals going back over the past few years, they said. Aramco Trading, as the wholly owned unit is known, typically deals in about 1 million barrels of third-party crude a day, Ibrahim Al-Buainain, the business’s chief executive officer said last week, prior to the attacks.
Since the Abqaiq attack, the company has been seeking additional cargoes of refined oil including diesel and jet fuel on the global market.