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Saudi Arabia says oil production back to normal by end of September after attacks

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
A picture taken on September 15, 2019 shows an Aramco oil facility near al-Khurj area, just south of the Saudi capital Riyadh. - Saudi Arabia raced today to restart operations at oil plants hit by drone attacks which slashed its production by half, as Iran dismissed US claims it was behind the assault. The Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, have claimed thi weekend's strikes on two plants owned by state giant Aramco in eastern Saudi Arabia. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
An Aramco oil facility just south of the Saudi capital Riyadh as the country races to restart operations at plants hit by attacks. Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia’s oil production will be fully restored within the next few weeks despite the attacks on oil sites over the weekend, according to its government.

The country’s energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said it had tapped inventories to recover supplies, allowing it to maintain current supply levels to customers.

The kingdom, the world’s biggest oil exporter, will be back to 5.7 million barrels of output a day by the end of September, the minister told a news conference on Wednesday to reassure the markets.

Oil prices dipped on Tuesday as the suspected drone and missile attacks’ impact on overall production appeared to be less devastating than first thought. Prices had spiked more than 20% on Monday, in the largest one-day jump since the Gulf War.

It comes as suspicions grow among officials in the US and Saudi Arabia that Iran was involved in the attacks on Aramco facilities.

READ MORE: Oil price surges as Trump warns US is ‘locked and loaded’ after attacks

One US official told Reuters the attacks originated in south-west Iran. The Saudi defence ministry is reported to be planning another press conference on Wednesday where it will provide evidence of alleged Iranian involvement and weaponry.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to London also said on Wednesday that Iran was “almost certainly” behind the unprecedented attacks, but said investigations were ongoing.

Trump dialled down his rhetoric on Monday, saying there was “no rush” to retaliate as European and Gulf countries sought to agree a common response. He had previously said the US was “locked and loaded.”

But Tehran has denied any link to the attacks, which at one point disrupted half of Saudi Arabian production.