Aramco CEO: Attacks had no impact on IPO plans

Attacks on the Saudi Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq on Sept. 20 sent oil prices up as much as 20 percent. (Reuters)
Updated 10 October 2019

Aramco CEO: Attacks had no impact on IPO plans

  • The oil company is on track to regain its maximum production capacity of 12 million bpd by the end of next month

LONDON: Saudi Aramco’s chief executive said on Wednesday there would be no impact on the stock market listing plans of the state oil giant after attacks on its installations last month, which he blamed on Iran.

Attacks such as those on Sept. 14, which sent oil prices up as much as 20 percent, may continue if there is no concerted international response, Amin Nasser told the Oil & Money conference in London.

The attacks targeted the Abqaiq and Khurais plants at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, causing fires and damage and shutting down 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of production — more than 5 percent of global oil supply.

“An absence of international resolve to take concrete action may embolden the attackers and indeed put the world’s energy security at greater risk,” Nasser said.

“You heard the minister of foreign affairs and I think he spoke enough about (where) the attacks (are) coming from. It’s instigated by Iran for sure, there’s no doubt.”

Yemen’s Houthi group claimed responsibility for the attacks, but a US official said they originated from southwestern Iran. Riyadh blamed Tehran. Iran, which supports the Houthis in Yemen’s war, has denied any involvement.

Saudi Arabia has maintained supplies to customers at levels seen before the attacks by drawing from its huge oil inventories and offering crude grades from other fields.

Nasser added that the attacks had no effect on Aramco’s revenues because the company continued to supply customers as planned. The attacks also had “no impact on the (initial public offering) whatsoever,” he said.

Saudi Arabia is pressing ahead with plans to sell between 1 percent and 2 percent of Aramco through a local listing, which might be followed by additional share sales internationally.

Nasser said Aramco was on track to regain its maximum oil production capacity of 12 million bpd by the end of November and that October crude output stood at 9.9 million bpd.

The Kingdom’s crude oil production capacity is now 11.3 million bpd, the Saudi energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, said last week.


China exports, imports in deeper contraction as US tariffs bite

Updated 2 min ago

China exports, imports in deeper contraction as US tariffs bite

  • Downbeat data likely to reinforce expectations that Beijing needs to introduce more stimulus measures to avert a sharper economic downturn

BEIJING: China’s exports fell at a faster pace in September while imports contracted for a fifth straight month, pointing to further weakness in the economy and underlining the need for more stimulus as the Sino-US trade war drags on.
The downbeat data is likely to reinforce expectations that Beijing needs to introduce more stimulus measures to avert a sharper economic downturn, despite tentative signs of a thaw in tense trade relations between the world’s top economies.
Following talks last week, US President Donald Trump on Friday outlined the first phase of a deal to end the trade war and suspended a threatened tariff hike set for Oct. 15. But existing tariffs remain in place and officials on both sides said much more work is needed before an accord could be agreed.
September had marked another major escalation in the dispute, with Washington imposing 15 percent tariffs on more than $125 billion in Chinese imports from Sept. 1, and Beijing hitting back with retaliatory levies.
September exports fell 3.2 percent from a year earlier, the biggest fall since February, customs data showed on Monday. Analysts had expected a 3 percent decline in a Reuters poll after August’s 1 percent drop.
“The headline figures suggest that global demand softened last month, adding to the pressure from the US tariffs that went into effect in September,” said analysts at Capital Economics.
Some economists attributed the deterioration in exports to a fading in the so-called “front-loading” effect. Some Chinese firms had rushed to ship goods to the United States ahead of the September deadline, supporting overall July and August export readings.
Total September imports fell 8.5 percent after August’s 5.6 percent decline, the lowest since May. Analysts had expected them to fall by 5.2 percent.
Despite more than a year of growth boosting measures, China’s domestic demand has remained stubbornly weak as economic uncertainty weighs on business and consumer confidence and discourages fresh investment.
China reported a trade surplus of $39.65 billion last month, compared with a $34.84 billion surplus in August. Analysts had forecast $33.3 billion.
Its trade surplus with the United States stood at $25.88 billion in September, narrowing from August’s $26.96 billion.
China’s exports to the United States fell 10.7 percent from a year earlier in dollar terms in January-September, while US imports dropped 26.4 percent during that period, the customs data showed.
Though President Trump had agreed not to proceed with a hike in tariffs set for Tuesday, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Trump had not made a decision about tariffs that were subject to go into effect in December.
Analysts believe China’s economic growth cooled further in the third quarter from a near 30-year low of 6.2 percent hit in April-June, and is threatening to breach the lower end of the government’s full-year target of 6.0-6.5 percent.
Some economists forecast growth could fall into the upper 5 percent range in 2020 due to a combination of cyclical and structural factors.