Dammam, Asharq Al-Awsat- In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Ali Al-Naimi dismissed doubts regarding the kingdom’s ability to produce at full capacity. Al-Naimi spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat at the launching of the Red Sea Refinery project YASREF.
The Minister of petroleum stated that, “Saudi does have the capacity to produce 12.5 million barrels per day…if needed,” he said. “People can doubt our capacity to meet customers’ needs, but who are you going to believe – me or what media and analysts say?” Al-Naimi asked.
This was in reply to recent reports suggesting Saudi Arabia might be reaching the limits of its production capacity, while other reports cast doubt on the ability of GCC countries, including Saudi Arabia, the largest oil producer, to cover the expected deficit due to the absence of Iranian oil if a European embargo is imposed on Tehran.
Saudi Arabia pumped 9.81 million barrels a day of crude in December, down from 10.047 million barrels a day the previous month, according to Saudi officials.
Al-Naimi refused to link the Saudi oil production capacity to the sanctions on Iran. In reply to questions by journalists, Al-Naimi has said that Saudi Arabia has clients, and it is committed to providing them with supplies; “Korea and Japan have been clients of Saudi Arabia for 20 years.” Al-Naimi reiterates that Saudi Arabia always has expressed its commitment to provide its clients with energy. Al-Naimi stresses that Saudi Arabia is capable of responding to its clients’ needs of petroleum energy in a guaranteed way.
The Saudi minister of petroleum and mineral resources was addressing the journalists on the sidelines of the launching of the Red Sea Refinery (YASREF), which is a joint project between Saudi Aramco and Chinese Sinopec, at a cost of 31.875 billion riyals (8.5 billion dollars). This refinery is considered to be the largest Chinese investment in Saudi Arabia.