• 25 mins Venezuela Officially In Default
  • 2 hours Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations
  • 4 hours Keystone Pipeline Leaks 5,000 Barrels Into Farmland
  • 10 hours Saudi Oil Minister: Markets Will Not Rebalance By March
  • 15 hours Obscure Dutch Firm Wins Venezuelan Oil Block As Debt Tensions Mount
  • 19 hours Rosneft Announces Completion Of World’s Longest Well
  • 22 hours Ecuador Won’t Ask Exemption From OPEC Oil Production Cuts
  • 1 day Norway’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Proposes To Ditch Oil Stocks
  • 1 day Ecuador Seeks To Clear Schlumberger Debt By End-November
  • 1 day Santos Admits It Rejected $7.2B Takeover Bid
  • 1 day U.S. Senate Panel Votes To Open Alaskan Refuge To Drilling
  • 2 days Africa’s Richest Woman Fired From Sonangol
  • 2 days Oil And Gas M&A Deal Appetite Highest Since 2013
  • 2 days Russian Hackers Target British Energy Industry
  • 2 days Venezuela Signs $3.15B Debt Restructuring Deal With Russia
  • 2 days DOJ: Protestors Interfering With Pipeline Construction Will Be Prosecuted
  • 2 days Lower Oil Prices Benefit European Refiners
  • 2 days World’s Biggest Private Equity Firm Raises $1 Billion To Invest In Oil
  • 3 days Oil Prices Tank After API Reports Strong Build In Crude Inventories
  • 3 days Iraq Oil Revenue Not Enough For Sustainable Development
  • 3 days Sudan In Talks With Foreign Oil Firms To Boost Crude Production
  • 3 days Shell: Four Oil Platforms Shut In Gulf Of Mexico After Fire
  • 3 days OPEC To Recruit New Members To Fight Market Imbalance
  • 3 days Green Groups Want Norway’s Arctic Oil Drilling Licenses Canceled
  • 3 days Venezuelan Oil Output Drops To Lowest In 28 Years
  • 4 days Shale Production Rises By 80,000 BPD In Latest EIA Forecasts
  • 4 days GE Considers Selling Baker Hughes Assets
  • 4 days Eni To Address Barents Sea Regulatory Breaches By Dec 11
  • 4 days Saudi Aramco To Invest $300 Billion In Upstream Projects
  • 4 days Aramco To List Shares In Hong Kong ‘For Sure’
  • 4 days BP CEO Sees Venezuela As Oil’s Wildcard
  • 4 days Iran Denies Involvement In Bahrain Oil Pipeline Blast
  • 7 days The Oil Rig Drilling 10 Miles Under The Sea
  • 7 days Baghdad Agrees To Ship Kirkuk Oil To Iran
  • 7 days Another Group Joins Niger Delta Avengers’ Ceasefire Boycott
  • 7 days Italy Looks To Phase Out Coal-Fired Electricity By 2025
  • 7 days Kenya Set To Give Local Communities Greater Share Of Oil Revenues
  • 7 days Rosneft, China To Deepen Strategic Cooperation
  • 7 days New York Listing Unlikely For Aramco IPO
  • 7 days China To Invest $83B In U.S. Shale

Breaking News:

Venezuela Officially In Default

Alt Text

Are Electric Cars As Clean As They Seem?

Electric cars are set to…

Alt Text

The Kurdish Oil Gamble Has Backfired

Kurdistan’s failure to hold the…

A Chink in Riyadh's Armor?

A Chink in Riyadh's Armor?

State-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co. reported its hydrocarbon exploration and production systems were unaffected by a computer attack last month. A computer hacking team claimed responsibility for infecting 30,000 computers at the oil company using the Shamoon computer virus. The attack was said to be the largest infection of a single computer ever. This week, meanwhile, Citigroup said that if economic trends in the kingdom continue, Saudi Arabia could become a net importer of crude oil by 2030. While there's nothing in either report to signal the immediate end of an era, taken together, it may signal a sea change in the structure of the global petroleum hierarchy.

A group calling itself The Cutting Sword of Justice took responsibility for an attack targeting what Saudi Aramco said was the company's personal workstations. Those familiar with the internal investigation suggest the attack may have been the work of insiders who had high-level access to the company's networks. Hackers said they were able to gain access to sensitive information and threatened to release files in response to "crimes and atrocities" committed by the Saudi government.

Riyadh has been relatively isolated from regional events unravelling in the Middle East. Its critics, however, lashed out for its role in internal divisions in Bahrain and elsewhere.

Real gross domestic product in Saudi Arabia is expected to slow to around 5 percent for 2012, compared to 6.8 percent in 2011. Oil revenues, however, increased by nearly 38 percent when compared with last year because of rising production costs and higher oil prices. Nevertheless, crude oil production declines from Angola, Iran, Libya and Saudi Arabia led to an overall decrease in production from OPEC members of 160,000 barrels per day in July when compared with the previous month.

The economy of Saudi Arabia depends heavily on oil, with revenues generated from exports accounting for more than 40 percent of the country's GDP. The country is ramping up its plans to develop nuclear and solar power in an effort to reserve crude oil supplies for exports and Riyadh already uses all of the natural gas it produces domestically. A research note from Citigroup, meanwhile, said the country might become an oil importer within the next 20 years.

"If Saudi Arabian oil consumption grows in line with peak power demand, the country could be a net oil importer by 2030," the note states.

Meanwhile, oil developers working in the lucrative Bakken crude oil play in the northern U.S. Plains said they were looking to rail to get petroleum products out of the region.  BNSF Railway, the second-largest freight railroad network in the United States, said it increased its capacity this year to allow for the delivery of 1 million barrels of oil per day from the region.  The company's chief marketing officer, John Lanigan, said the regional oil sector has developed "so quickly" that there isn’t enough pipeline capacity to get crude out to refineries.

Of the top 10 oil producing countries in the world, only three come from the Middle East. Countries like Canada, Brazil, Mexico and the United States are sitting alongside powerhouses like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The recent cyber-attack on Saudi Aramco didn't hurt oil production, but it did expose vulnerabilities. That, and the recent Citibank note, suggests fundamental shifts are underway in the international oil market.

By. Daniel J. Graeber of Oilprice.com




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News