By Anthony DiPaola and Manus Cranny
The aerial attacks highlighted the fragility of global supply chains and the vulnerability of an industry that is Saudi Arabia’s lifeblood. They also underscored the risk to reliable energy flows from the Persian Gulf after a series of tanker bombings in May and June.
“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 is maintaining crude exports at about 7 million barrels a day and pumping more than it did before the aerial strikes as it replenishes stockpiles, he said.
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.
Al-Buainain had initially expected the attacks 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 quickly restored capacity and production and global demand remains a concern. Brent crude was $59.68 a barrel at 9:11 a.m. in Dubai, trading below the close on the day before the surprise assault.
Read: Saudi Oil Capacity Recovers Faster Than Expected From Attack
Aramco is building redundancy into its systems that allowed the company to be resilient after the damage to the Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais field, Al-Buainain.
It cut refinery runs at home in the days following the strikes to make more crude available to customers, while offering some of those buyers alternative grades to meet its supply commitments. Aramco Trading, which Al-Buainain heads, also bought refined products on the market, ostensibly to make up for any fuel shortfalls at home.
However, Al-Buainain said Aramco Trading was operating normally, without needing to buy alternative refined fuels to meet domestic demand or crude to supply international refinery ventures.
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.