Saudi Aramco now stronger than ever
As we celebrate the Kingdom’s National Day, it is an opportunity for us to reflect on our achievements and look forward to the future together with renewed strength, resolve and determination.
For Aramcons in Saudi Arabia and around the world — past and present — this National Day in particular should be a source of tremendous pride and celebration. It is even more meaningful after our collective strength and resolve was tested on Saturday, Sept. 14, when Saudi Aramco’s oil processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais were attacked, causing numerous fires and significant damage, temporarily shutting down production at both facilities.
This affected not only Aramco’s operations and our local communities, but also had a major impact on the global energy markets. The attacks, using missiles and drones, are being condemned internationally as a strike on the world’s energy infrastructure that seriously hurts the global economy, which is already facing headwinds.
We cannot choose when and where an attack might take place, but what we can choose is how we respond. And I have never been prouder of how our people responded. Our immediate, resilient, and unified response to these unprecedented attacks was simply outstanding, and essentially above and beyond the field of ordinary human endeavor.
Many of my colleagues demonstrated exceptional situational awareness, courage and determination. I would especially like to thank the plant operators and technicians, the firefighters, operations and security personnel, as well as the many support organizations who worked in close coordination with Saudi Civil Defense personnel and government agencies.
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. This underlines why Saudi Aramco is the most important company in the world.
The resilience of our company rests on three foundational pillars: Our dedicated and committed people, our vast hydrocarbon resources, and our world-class facilities and equipment. If there is a silver lining to the black clouds that rose over Abqaiq and Khurais on that Saturday morning, it is that our most precious resource — our people and the communities nearby — remained safe.
Following the attacks, together with several corporate management members, I visited our brave colleagues in Abqaiq and Khurais and, having also spoken to team members across the company, I can emphatically state that our people are stronger than ever. And this extends beyond the walls of the company.
While the fires were burning, we were receiving lots of support, encouragement and messages of goodwill from our communities, retired Aramcons, both in Saudi Arabia and in other parts of the world, and also the business community — who offered their immediate assistance to rebuild and restore the facilities. This is a great reminder that Saudi Aramco is part of a larger, much stronger global family.
Resilience and overcoming adversity are in our DNA. In fact, production at Khurais resumed within 24 hours of the attack, Abqaiq production resumed soon after, and production of 5.7 million barrels per day will be restored by the end of September. Not a single shipment to our international customers has been missed or canceled as a result of the attacks, and we will continue to fulfill our mission of providing the energy the world needs.
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.
They demonstrated that no one can defeat our spirit, which was witnessed by Minister of Energy, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, and Chairman of Saudi Aramco, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who visited Abqaiq after the attacks.
Every one of us is required to push ahead with resolve, because the company and the Kingdom need us more than ever. Indeed, these incidents have highlighted just how much the world needs a strong and reliable Saudi Aramco.
In perhaps the greatest test we have faced, many have not only risen to the challenge, but exceeded all expectations, showing the world the true mettle of our people and the value of our company, our culture, and our community. And for this they have our deepest respect, admiration and gratitude.
I wish each of you a wonderful and safe National Day celebration.
• Amin Nasser is President and CEO of Saudi Aramco
(This column is based on a message by Amin Nasser to Saudi Aramco employees.)