Saudi Aramco has emerged from attacks ‘stronger than ever’ — CEO

The Tehran-backed Houthis have claimed the weekend’s strikes on two plants owned by state giant Aramco in eastern Saudi Arabia. (File/AFP)
Updated 22 September 2019

Saudi Aramco has emerged from attacks ‘stronger than ever’ — CEO

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco has emerged from attacks on its oil facilities “stronger than ever,” Chief Executive Amin Nasser told employees in a message, adding that full oil production would resume by the end of this month.
The Sept. 14 attacks on the Abqaiq and Khurais plants, some of the kingdom’s biggest, caused raging fires and significant damage that halved the crude output of the world’s top oil exporter, by shutting down 5.7 million barrels per day of production.
“The fires that were intended to destroy Saudi Aramco had an unintended consequence: they galvanized 70,000 of us around a mission to rebound quickly and confidently, and Saudi Aramco has come out of this incident stronger than ever,” Nasser said in the internal message, on the occasion of the Saudi national day, to be celebrated on Sept. 23.
“Every second counts in moments like these, and had we not acted quickly to contain the fires and undertake rapid restoration efforts, the impact on the oil market and the global economy would have been far more devastating.”
Six days after the assault, which hit at the heart of the Saudi energy industry and intensified a decades-long struggle with arch-rival Iran, the state oil giant Aramco invited reporters on Friday to observe the damage and the repair efforts.
Thousands of employees and contractors have been pulled from other projects to work around the clock to bring production back. Aramco is shipping equipment from the United States and Europe to rebuild the damaged facilities, Aramco officials told reporters.
Aramco already brought back part of the lost production and will return to pre-attacks level end of September, Nasser said.
“Not a single shipment to our international customers has been missed or canceled as a result of the attacks, and we will continue to fulfil our mission of providing the energy the world needs,” he said in the message, seen by Reuters.
Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia had used its reserves to maintain oil supply flows to customers abroad and inside the kingdom.
Yemen’s Houthi group claimed responsibility for the attacks but a US official said they originated from southwestern Iran. Tehran, which support the Houthis, has denied any involvement in the attacks.
Saudi Arabia says 18 drones and three missiles were fired at Abqaiq, the world’s largest oil processing facility, while the Khurais facility was hit by four missiles.
No casualties were reported at either site even though thousands of workers and contractors work and live in the area.


Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

Updated 14 November 2019

Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

  • New skills-based system to be launched from next month
  • Will include India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Starting next month, Saudi Arabia will introduce a new skilled foreign manpower program that will eventually include Pakistan, a senior official at the Saudi labor ministry said this week. 

Nayef Al-Omair, head of the vocational examination program at the Ministry of Labor, said on Tuesday in Riyadh that the ministry was categorizing the tasks and the structure of some professions for visa-issuing purposes.

Under the new policy, visas would be issued only after skill tests and the previous system would be gradually phased out. 

The new scheme would be optional for one year starting December 2019 after which it would become compulsory, Al-Omair said. The new program would first be applied to manpower recruited from India due to its large size in the Saudi market.

Eventually, the program will cover seven countries, including India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Workers belonging to these states constitute 95 percent of professional manpower in the Kingdom’s local market.

Saudi Arabia is home to around 2.6 million Pakistani expats those have been a vital source of foreign remittances.

Last year the country received $21.8 billion in remittances out of which $5 billion were remitted by Pakistani nationals working in Kingdom.

According to the Pakistani ministry of finance, there was a major decline in manpower export to Saudi Arabia where only 100,910 emigrants proceeded for employment in 2018 as compared to 2017, a drop of 42,453 emigrants.

However, Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari, special assistant to the Pakistani prime minister on overseas Pakistanis, said in an interview earlier this month that Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase the share of the Pakistani labor force in the multi-billion dollar New Taif City development.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have formed working groups to develop procedures for this transfer of manpower. Pakistani groups will visit the Kingdom in the coming months to finalize arrangements.