Saudi oil production surges back to 75 percent of pre-attack level

Saudi King Salman and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa reviewed latest regional developments during their talks in Jeddah on Monday. (SPA)
Updated 24 September 2019

Saudi oil production surges back to 75 percent of pre-attack level

  • We can deal with effects of ‘cowardly sabotage,’ king says of drone and missile attacks
  • Two Aramco plants were hit in drone and missile attacks on Sept. 14 that caused fires and significant damage, halving the country’s oil output

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has restored more than 75 percent of the production lost after attacks on two oil processing plants and will return to full capacity next week.

The Khurais facility is now producing more than 1.3 million barrels per day and the Abqaiq plant about 3 million, industry sources said. 

Both Aramco plants were hit in drone and missile attacks on Sept. 14 that caused fires and significant damage, halving the country’s oil output. The Kingdom’s ability to quickly restore production demonstrated an important degree of resilience to potentially damaging shocks, the ratings agency Moody’s said.

King Salman said on Monday that Saudi Arabia was able to deal with the effects of what he described as “this cowardly sabotage, that targeted the Kingdom and the stability of global energy supplies.”

He spoke after talks in Jeddah with King Hamad of Bahrain, who denounced the “serious escalation targeting the security and stability of the region.”

Meanwhile, the diplomatic focus on the fallout from the missile strikes moved to New York, where world leaders are gathering for the UN General Assembly. Saudi Arabia and the US have blamed Iran for the attacks, and they were joined on Monday by Britain.

“The UK is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran for the Aramco attacks. We think it very likely indeed that Iran was responsible,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on his way to the US.

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“We will be working with our American friends and our European friends to construct a response that tries to deescalate tensions in the Gulf region,” he said.

However, the UK risks opening a diplomatic rift with other European countries trying to salvage the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions. Their efforts have so far failed, with the US withdrawing from the deal and reimposing sanctions.

French President Emmanuel Macron has refused to blame Iran for the Aramco attacks. “One must be very careful in attributing responsibility,” he said on his way to New York.

Macron, Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks on Monday to coordinate their Iran strategy before meetings with US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Gulf states, the US, the Europeans and others needed to engage in “collective diplomacy” to defuse tensions, a senior GCC official said.

“The conversation should no longer be about the JCPOA, but Iran’s missile program and its regional misbehavior, which are as important if not more important — they have the potential to hold the region to ransom,” he said.


Britain must accept EU standards if it wants full market access: Germany’s Maas

Updated 29 January 2020

Britain must accept EU standards if it wants full market access: Germany’s Maas

  • ‘By the end of the year, we need to be clear on the shape of our relationship’
  • Referring to the Beatles song “Hello, goodbye,” Maas said that both sides had sorted out the goodbye

BERLIN: Britain will have to compromise on issues such as consumer rights and environment protection if it wants to maintain full access to the European Union’s single market, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday.
“By the end of the year, we need to be clear on the shape of our relationship,” Maas wrote in a guest article in German weekly Die Zeit in reference to the post-Brexit transition period.
“So let me say very openly: Yes, we all want zero tariffs and zero trade barriers, but that also means zero dumping and zero unfair competition. Without similar standards to protect our workers, our consumers and the environment, there can be no full access to the largest single market in the world.”
Britain and the European Union will therefore have to conduct the negotiations on their post-Brexit economic relations in a way that “won’t harm the European Union,” Maas said.
Turning to security and defense policies, the minister said that Britain and the EU needed to develop new forms of cooperation, for example by creating a European Security Council.
Such a council could help coordinate joint positions on strategic issues of European security and to respond more quickly to international crises. “We are working with France to flesh out this idea as quickly as possible in order to build a foundation for our future relationship,” Maas wrote.
The German minister also suggested that the EU’s door would always remain open for Britain to come back.
Referring to the Beatles song “Hello, goodbye,” Maas said that both sides had sorted out the goodbye.
“But should this farewell ever turn out to be less final than anticipated, rest assured that we will always have a place for you at our table in Brussels and in our hearts,” he added.