Saudi Aramco: We Never Asked Iraq For Extra Oil

Tsvetana Paraskova

Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco is not looking to buy crude oil from Iraq’s state oil marketing firm, people familiar with the operations of the two companies told Bloomberg on Thursday, after earlier reports had suggested that the Saudis were seeking to import as much as 20 million barrels of crude oil from Iraq.

Following the weekend attacks on vital oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Saudi Arabia had asked Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) to sell it 20 million barrels of crude oil for refineries in Saudi Arabia.

But the trading unit of the Saudi oil firm, Aramco Trading, is trading non-Saudi crude as usual and isn’t seeking more Iraqi crude, Bloomberg’s sources said, adding that reports of a request for 20 million barrels from SOMO weren’t correct.

The Saudi state oil giant, however, is considering sending more non-Saudi crude oil to its refineries operating under joint ventures outside Saudi Arabia, the sources told Bloomberg.

On Saturday, the Abqaiq facility and the Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia were hit by attacks, which resulted in the temporary suspension of 5.7 million bpd of Saudi Arabia’s crude oil production, or around 5 percent of global daily oil supply.

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Aramco has reportedly restored around 40 percent of the affected production capacity and continues to ensure customers they will receive all the oil supply they had contracted—although some lighter grades would likely be replaced with heavier crude grades.

In an update on the progress in restoring supply, Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that the return to normal production would likely take less time than originally feared, sparking a massive oil price drop of 6 percent late on Tuesday morning, just a day after prices had jumped more than any day on record.

The reports that the top oil exporter Saudi Arabia looks to import crude oil for its own refineries sent oil prices higher on Thursday morning, with WTI Crude up 1.02 percent at $58.67 and Brent Crude up 1.52 percent at $63.61 at 09:41 a.m. EDT.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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