Sep 9, 2019

The Saudis' crude oil price challenge

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Data: U.S. Energy Information Administration; Chart: Axios Visuals

One big challenge facing Saudi Arabia is that crude prices are well below the roughly $80–$85 per barrel the country needs to balance its budget.

The big picture: Saudi Arabia shook up its oil hierarchy Saturday by ousting Khalid al-Falih as oil minister and replacing him with Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman. The kingdom is grappling with the U.S. production boom, sluggish global demand growth, and trade friction that's holding down oil prices.

Go deeper: Less than a year after Khashoggi murder, business booms for Saudi Arabia

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Saudi oil sites hit by drone strikes: U.S. blames Iran

Smoke billowing from an Aramco oil facility following the Houthi attacks. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Iran denied Sunday U.S. accusations that it was behind drone attacks targeting the world's largest oil processing facility at Abqaiq and a major oil field at Khurais in Saudi Arabia the previous day.

The latest: Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the early Saturday strikes, AP reports. But U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran, saying "there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen." Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi said in a statement the U.S. accusations were "blind, incomprehensible and meaningless."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Sep 15, 2019

Saudi Arabia says oil output to be restored by month's end

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman. Photo: -/AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia hopes to fully restore oil output curtailed by Saturday's attacks by the end of September and have already revived 50% of the lost production, the kingdom's energy minister said Tuesday, per multiple reports.

Why it matters: The comments by Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman — and an earlier Reuters report of the rough timeline — are putting downward pressure on oil prices, which had soared in the wake of the attacks against a major processing plant and oilfield.

Go deeperArrowSep 17, 2019

Oil prices plunge after report of quick Saudi production return after attacks

A Saudi Aramco production facility near al-Khurj. Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

Crude oil prices fell sharply Tuesday, reversing some of their major increases over recent days, after Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia will quickly restore output lost during attacks on its facilities over the weekend.

Why it matters: The report, if borne out, will ease fears of a prolonged outage from the strikes against a massive processing facility and oil field in OPEC's largest producer and the world's largest crude oil exporter.

Go deeperArrowSep 17, 2019