By Emre Gurkan Abay
ANKARA (AA) - Saudi Arabia has fully restored its oil production after the attacks on its oil facilities in mid September, Saudi Aramco, the kingdom's Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Thursday.
In a speech during a plenary session at Russian Energy Week in Moscow, Salman said the kingdom’s oil production capacity now stands at 11.3 million barrels per day (mbpd).
On Sept. 17, the Saudi energy minister said his country aimed to reach oil production of 11 mbpd by the end of September and up to 12 mbpd by the end of November.
The country announced the restoration of most of its production much faster than anticipated, surpassing 8 mbpd, just two weeks after the attacks.
He commended those in the kingdom who rose to the challenge of the Aramco attacks. "We still have the kit and the tools to overcome any future challenges," he said.
The attacks on Saudi Aramco on Sept. 14 crippled 5.7 million barrels per day of production, corresponding to around 60% of Saudi output.
Due to the disruption in the world's largest crude exporter's output, oil prices jumped by as much as 20% in the global market. International benchmark Brent crude climbed to as high as $71.62 per barrel during early trading hours on Sept. 14 - its highest level since May 22.
Western countries, such as the U.S., the U.K., Germany and France, blamed Iran for the attacks on Saudi infrastructure. However, Iran denied the claims and said Houthis in Yemen, which took responsibility for the attacks, have the right to defend themselves against Saudi presence in the country.
"First, if Iran stops its support of the Houthi militia, the political solution will be much easier," Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Sept. 29.
The energy minister said that the kingdom wants to now focus on the listing of its state energy giant, Saudi Aramco. Riyadh has been preparing for its initial public offering (IPO) in the Saudi stock market Tadawul before the end of 2019, and later in Tokyo for 2020 or 2021.
Aramco's IPO is part of the Crown Prince's Vision 2030 initiative to steer his country away from oil dependency. He aims to raise $100 billion from a 5% sale of Aramco, which would make it the world's most valuable firm by market capitalization.
* Writing by Busranur Begcecanli