Saudi energy minister lauds Kingdom’s response to Aramco strikes at global oil industry conference

The energy minister said that Saudi Arabia was able to resume operations 72 hours after the attack. (File/AFP)
Updated 06 October 2019

Saudi energy minister lauds Kingdom’s response to Aramco strikes at global oil industry conference

  • The kingdom’s oil production capacity now stands at 11.3 million barrels per day
  • The listing of Aramco is the centrepiece of Saudi Arabian plans to shake up its economy and diversify away from oil

MOSCOW: Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman has paid tribute to the Kingdom’s ability to “rise to the challenge” in the aftermath of the recent attacks on Aramco oil facilities.

Speaking at the Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow, the minister thanked all those who had helped in the recovery mission after the Sept. 14 strikes on the Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais oilfield, in the Eastern Province.

During his address to delegates at the global oil industry gathering, the prince said: “I’m quite comfortable, and quite honored, to believe that I could stand here with a straight face and ask any of my colleagues here, present or who hear me, where in the world would you have a country, a people and a nation who could overcome that challenge, which has never been seen anywhere in the world?

“When you lose half of your production capacity, when you lose 5 percent of the world’s oil supply, and more important, when the attempt is to make you lose your reputation as a reliable, secure, dependable oil supplier.

“In 72 hours, we first of all regained our capabilities, and retained our reputation, and more or less we assumed our responsibility to attend to our major job, which specifically was to continue to be the most reliable, secure, dependable oil supplier,” he added.

“With a straight face we come to everybody and say if you believe us, that’s fine. If you don’t believe us, you’re more than welcome to come and visit. We have hosted a number of journalists who have visited. We were in the phase of inviting analysts to come to look at our numbers with regard to Aramco, and we will welcome any dignitaries that are here today,” he told a packed plenary session on the theme “maintaining energy connectivity in an unstable world.”

Prince Abdul Aziz also joked that, as the attack had come in his first week as energy minister, he “thought it was a bit of a drill to show me whether I was still up to the job.”

He expressed his gratitude to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, executives and workers at Aramco, and “the entire nation” for their response to the drone and missile strikes.

The minister also thanked his Russian partners — represented on the Moscow stage by the country’s energy minister, Alexander Novak — for their support after the attacks, and revealed that on the first day after the introduction of the Kingdom’s new tourist visa arrangements, some 400 Russians had applied to visit Saudi Arabia, one of the highest number of any nationality.

Later, the prince gave some hard facts to illustrate the Kingdom’s recovery from the strikes. The country had stabilized production capacity at 11.3 million barrels per day (bpd) and made an “additional commitment” to volunteer to keep production lower than the 10.3 million bpd agreed under the Opec+ agreement on oil supply. “We still have the kit and the tools to overcome any future challenges to the Opec+ deal.”

He said the Kingdom should now move on from the attacks to deal with the forthcoming initial public offering (IPO) of Saudi Aramco, which he wanted to make “the most successful IPO ever.”

Prince Abdul Aziz also prioritized the Kingdom’s energy mix between fossil fuels and renewables and further energy price reforms. “We’re looking at the entire ecosystem of energy. We’ve moved on from the attacks, we’ve flipped the page and we’re looking at new challenges.”

He admitted that there were “recessionary forces” at work in the global economy that could affect demand for oil, but said that most of the problems, similar to Brexit and trade wars, were surmountable. “Human beings made the problems so I hope humans can repair them. It needs serious people to attend to them,” the minister added.


Dubai launches economic program for post COVID-19 recovery 

Updated 05 August 2020

Dubai launches economic program for post COVID-19 recovery 

  • “The Great Economic Reset Programme” is part of a “COVID Exit initiative” to help the recovery and reshaping of the economy
  • The economic program will feature analyses of current and future policies

DUBAI: Dubai launched an economic program as part of its efforts to reshape the emirate’s economy for a “sustainable” and “resilient” future post the coronavirus pandemic, the government said. 
The Dubai government partnered with the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) to launch “The Great Economic Reset Programme” as part of a “COVID Exit initiative” to help the recovery and reshaping of the economy, state news agency WAM reported on Tuesday. 
The economic program will feature analyses of current and future policies, research and extensive stakeholder consultation to set the direction and tone of future economic policies, regulations and initiatives.
The government plans to use local and international experts for economies and societies to create growth strategies for the Dubai economy.
The MBRSG held a “Virtual Policy Council,” with global experts and thought leaders to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy and potential policy responses and initiatives. 
Chief economists, senior practitioners and researchers from leading global institutions including the World Bank, joined experts from Dubai Economy and the MBRSG at the first roundtable.
“I believe the triple helix collaboration between public, private and academia stakeholders have always produced the best solutions in the past. In the highly uncertain environment now, extensive collaboration and cooperation between all stakeholders are vital to our future prosperity. The Virtual Policy Council will propose the best approaches Dubai and the UAE can adopt to address the risks and opportunities in the next normal economy,” said Mohammed Shael Al-Saadi, CEO of the Corporate Strategic Affairs sector in Dubai Economy.
“This Virtual Policy Council is a key component of the whole process where global experts and thinkers share their views on the future economy. In this new era, the role of governments in enabling the new economic actors is becoming increasingly central, and Dubai is well-positioned to lead the way with innovative models of growth post COVID19,” said Professor Raed Awamleh, Dean of MBRSG.
The roundtable also discussed the impact of the pandemic on international trade, foreign investment and tourism, as well as the rise of digital globalization.