Saudi Arabia is insistent that last weekend’s attacks on key oil facilities will not materially affect its ability to supply buyers (MEES, 20 September). The kingdom has moved swiftly to deter rival producers from seeking to make up any shortfall, pledging that it will be able to restore all of the 5.7mn b/d production lost by the end of the month.

Immediate supplies appear sufficient, but the market is dangerously short of spare capacity. MEES estimates that Opec spare capacity in August was 3.5mn b/d, quite the buffer. But some 2.24mn b/d of this was held by Saudi Arabia and has now vanished, leaving just 1.26mn b/d. This could prove insufficient in the eventuality of outages elsewhere, or a slower than-planned restoration of Saudi output. (CONTINUED - 1005 WORDS)