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When Will Saudi Oil Production Return To Pre-Attack Levels?

Saudi Arabia will restore its oil production to levels slightly above the output just before the attacks on its oil facilities in mid-September, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Monday.

Last month, Saudi Arabia sustained an unprecedented attack on its oil infrastructure, which knocked 5.7 million bpd—or 5 percent of global oil supply—offline.

The Saudis were quick to assure the market that production would quickly return online, and that not a single oil shipment to customers would be skipped.

Last week, Saudi Aramco’s chief executive Amin Nasser said that the largest oil-producing company in the world would have its oil production capacity fully restored by the end of November.

The Saudi assurances and the persistent fear in the oil market about faltering demand growth this year have prevented oil prices from spiking for more than a day after the attack. One month after the attacks, the price of oil is now slightly lower than where it was on the day just before the attacks.

Due to the attack on Saudi oil, OPEC’s total production slumped by 1.318 million bpd from August to 28.491 million bpd in September, according to the secondary sources in OPEC’s closely-watched Monthly Oil Market Report. This was the steepest month on month drop in OPEC’s production in more than a decade and a half.

According to OPEC’s secondary sources, production in Saudi Arabia plunged by 1.28 million bpd to 8.564 million bpd in September. The Saudis, however, self-reported to OPEC that production was down by just 660,000 bpd in September from August, at 9.129 million bpd.

Related: Oil Giant Slashes Jobs Amid Shale Slowdown

In October and November, Saudi Arabia will pump 9.86 million bpd, energy minister bin Salman said at a Saudi-Russian forum in Riyadh on Monday. 

The expected production this month and next will still be more than 400,000 bpd below Saudi Arabia’s official output cap under the deal, 10.311 million bpd.

The Saudis will continue to curb more than asked for, the minister said, noting that he hopes the non-compliant members in the deal—Iraq, Nigeria, Gabon, and South Sudan—to start to fully comply with the OPEC+ pact as of this month.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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