Saudi National Day celebrations launched from Abqaiq and Khurais

Saudi National Day celebrations launched from Abqaiq and Khurais

During a trip organized by Saudi information ministry, workers and engineers are silhouetted as they fix the damage in Aramco's oil separator at processing facility after the recent Sept. 14 attack in Abqaiq, Eastern Province, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (AP)

Decades ago, the vision of Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul Aziz, made the Kingdom the largest oil exporter and placed it among the world’s strongest G-20 economies. Last March was the 81st anniversary of the first discovery of oil in commercial quantities in Saudi Arabia. The nation has reaped the fruits of the king’s momentous success. 

The attacks on Saudi Aramco oil and gas facilities, the largest in the world, saw production suspended for the first time since their initiation. It is a testament to the strong infrastructure in place at the plants that it was so short-lived. 

The resumption of oil tankers loading from Aramco’s facilities in Al-Juaimah and Ras Tanura, just 36 hours after the attacks, was a remarkable containment of the significant damage caused by the military-level drone strikes. Over 5 percent of global output coming back online after such an event is impressive by any standard. It shows just how far the Kingdom has come, in its nine decades, that it was able to achieve it after an assault of this scale. 

An attack designed to cripple Saudi Arabia’s biggest industry, and skew the world’s oil supply, has been consigned to history as little more than a blip. 

The resumption of oil tankers loading from Aramco’s facilities in Al-Juaimah and Ras Tanura, just 36 hours after the attacks, was a remarkable containment of the significant damage caused by the military-level drone strikes.

Faisal Faeq

 

This rapid response to the attacks demonstrates structured proficiency in applying project management mechanisms, specifically risk management. This is in line with Saudi Vision 2030, and provides important means to transform aspirations and planning into concrete, proactive results. 

According to Aramco’s chief executive officer, the company extinguished all the major fires caused by the attacks, across multiple locations, in under seven hours with no casualties. This is clear proof that whatever safety, security and containment mechanisms the facilities had in place for such an outlandish incident, staff were clearly well prepared. 

The newly appointed minister of energy, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, spoke to the media in the aftermath, to calm fears and global markets, in line with Vision 2030 protocols on transparency. It had exactly the desired effect, and the company, and the Kingdom, has emerged from this episode with its reputation for efficiency and competence notably enhanced.

Aramco’s management of these attacks, and the restoration of the Kingdom’s oil exports to normal in record time, was perhaps the perfect way to usher in this year's Saudi National Day, showing to the world a nation that is unflappable in adversity, and ready to meet the challenges ahead of it.

  • Faisal Faeq is an energy and oil marketing adviser. He was formerly with OPEC and Saudi Aramco. Twitter:@faisalfaeq
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