Everything you need to know about Saudi Aramco's production: In numbers

Everything you need to know about Saudi Aramco's production: In numbers
Published: 16 September 2019 - 7:45 a.m.
By: Carla Sertin

Following attacks on Saudi Aramco's Khurais and Abqaiq plants, which have halved the company's output, removing 5.7mn barrels per day of production, read the key facts about Saudi Arabia's infrastructure, trade flows, and S&P Global Platts' analysis of the potential impact on the oil price.


  • Saudi Arabia, OPEC's biggest and most influential member, produced 9.77mn barrels per day (bpd) in August, according to the latest Platts survey, and exports around 7mn bpd.
  • Located in the kingdom's eastern province, plants in Abqaiq process around 7mn bpd of crude.
  • The Abqaiq facility is Saudi Aramco's largest oil processing facility and processed about 50% of the company's crude oil production in 2018.
  • Khurais, about 250 km southwest of Dhahran, is the second-largest oil field in Saudi Arabia with capacity to pump around 1.5mn bpd of mainly Arab Light crude.
  • *Output from the 5mn bpd Ghawar field, Shaybah and Khurais fields is all processed at Abqaiq.
  • Saudi Arabia's East-West Pipeline to the Red Sea has a nameplate capacity of about 5mn bpd, with current movements estimated at about 2mn bpd. The East-West pipeline runs from Abqaiq to the Yanbu Port on the Red Sea.
  • Saudi Arabia ships about 10% of its total crude exports to Europe through the line to the Red Sea. The line is also critical to Saudi Arabia's own Red Sea refineries, which are mainly supplied with crude oil produced in its eastern region shipped from the Persian Gulf.
  • Saudi crude is generally a mix of heavy to medium sour oil, which is generally high in sulfur and yields a decent amount of residual fuel and vacuum gasoil.
  • The oil is particularly popular with complex refineries in Asia, US and Europe which can crack heavy sulfurous crudes, and still yield distillate products due to the refiners having complex secondary units.
  • The key export grades are Arab Heavy, Arab Medium, Arab Light and Arab Extra Light.

Oil prices

  • Platts Analytics noted prices are likely to break out of the $55-65 per barrel options range, more likely testing the high $70 per barrel it previously forecast, if not higher.
  • Platts Analytics added that any additional risk premium "could see prices test $80/b despite Saudi Arabia today claiming production and exports will not be significantly impacted."
  • On Friday, NYMEX front-month crude settled 24 cents lower at $54.85 per barrel, while ICE front-month Brent settled 16 cents lower at $60.22 per barrel.

Trade flows

  • Saudi Arabia stockpiles totalled 187.9mn barrels in June, according to the Joint Organisation Data Initiative. This implies that the kingdom has 26.8 days of cover, assuming zero crude production.
  • Saudi Arabia holds crude in storage in domestic tanks as well at sites in Eqypt, Japan and the Netherlands.
  • The country's largest oil export terminals are in the port of Ras Tanura which can handle about 6.5mn bpd, according to the EIA. All of Saudi's key crude oil grades load from here along with condensate and products.
  • The port comprises three terminals: Ras Tanura terminal, Ju'aymah crude terminal, and Ju'aymah LPG export terminal. The Ras Tanura crude terminal has a 33mn barrels storage capacity.
  • The other key crude export terminal is the King Fahd terminal in Yanbu on the Red Sea, which has a loading capacity of 6.6mn bpd.
  • Total crude oil storage capacity at the terminal is 12.5mn barrels. Only Arab Light crude oil grade is loaded at the Yanbu terminal.
  • Platts Analytics estimates that global spare capacity is currently 2.3mn bpd, but more than 1.6mn bpd is in Saudi Arabia, showing how vulnerable the market is to supply-side risks.
  • The US could move as much as 2.12mn bpd of SPR crude to global markets, but as much as 1.74mn bpd of addition marine distribution capacity would likely be needed in the event of an Abqaiq attack, according to a 2016 DOE report.
  • As of Friday, the SPR held 644.8mn barrels of crude in four sites in Texas and Louisiana, including 250.3mn barrels of sweet crude and 394.5mn barrels of sour crude, according to DOE.
  • IEA consumer countries are required to hold emergency oil stocks equivalent to 90 days' worth of net imports and the agency sent a note over the weekend saying oil markets remain well supplied.

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