Saudi oil attacks rally support around the kingdom

By Sultan al-Barei in Riyadh


Aramco workers repair the oil facilities damaged in the September 14th drone attacks. [Photo courtesy of the Saudi Press Agency]

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday (September 25th) hailed what it called a growing consensus that Iran carried out this month's attack on the kingdom's oil infrastructure, AFP reported.

Saudi Arabia's minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, said that the kingdom's initial investigation "indicated that it was Iranian weapons" and that it was consulting with allies.

"I think there's a consensus that such behaviour is not acceptable," he told reporters at the UN.

He promised that the Saudi probe would be "very thorough".


Remnants of the missiles and drones that targeted Saudi Aramco facilities are displayed at a press conference in Riyadh held by the Saudi Ministry of Defence. [Photo courtesy of the Saudi Ministry of Defence]

"And we will come up with different options. And we will select the appropriate options as a response to the attacks against the kingdom," he said.

France, Germany and Britain this week said they agreed with US findings that Iran was responsible for the September 14th airstrikes on the Abqaiq plant and the Khurais oil field which knocked out half of Saudi Arabia's oil production.

Also on Wednesday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hosted Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi for talks focused on the attacks.

"The meeting dealt with regional developments, particularly the sabotage attacks on Saudi Aramco plants in Abqaiq and Khurais, stressing Iraqi keenness on the security and stability of the kingdom," the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

Strikes will backfire on Iran

Experts told Al-Mashareq that the attacks will backfire against Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The strike on the Saudi oil facilities was a "blow to the international community as a whole and not only to Saudi Arabia", said Abdullah al-Dakhil, a lecturer at King Saud University's faculty of political sciences.

"A strike against Saudi oil installation is a strike against the global economy as it affects global oil supplies and not only the revenues generated by the kingdom," he told Al-Mashareq.

It also came at a time when the international community is calling on the IRGC to stop its provocative activities in the region, he said.

"The IRGC is responsible for the attack, either directly or indirectly through its proxies," he said. "Consequently the outcome will backfire on it because it is tampering with the security and economy of the region and the world."

Oil pumping continues

"The economic objective behind the strike on Aramco's oil facilities was to disrupt the Saudi and global economies by making Saudi Arabia’s oil capabilities appear unstable and incapable of fulfilling its global production quota," said Yasser al-Muhanna, lecturer at the Faculty of Economics and Management at Qassim University.

However, the kingdom’s oil policies, which include setting aside a strategic reserve for emergencies, foiled that plan, he told Al-Mashareq.

As for production operations, they will return to normal in short order, he added.

Saudi Arabia has said that its oil output will return to normal by the end of September.

Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said the kingdom would achieve 11 million barrels per day (bpd) capacity by the end of September and 12 million bpd by the end of November.

Al-Muhanna said the attack "failed in achieving its non-military objectives".

"On the contrary, it actually affirmed the kingdom’s role as a principal global energy supplier and that protecting this [sector] is beneficial to all and not just Saudi Arabia," he said.

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