Saudi Arabia’s decision to suspend Aramco’s plan to add 1mn b/d to its 12mn b/d maximum sustainable capacity (MSC) was a hot topic during this week’s International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) in Dhahran, just a few kilometers from Aramco’s headquarters. In a packed auditorium on 12 February, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman wasted no time in addressing the issue in one of his first industry appearances since the 30 January announcement (MEES, 2 February).

“It’s very simple,” the minister said, “we have postponed this investment because we are transitioning. Transitioning means that our oil company became a hydrocarbon company, and now it is becoming an energy company. It has oil, it has gas, it even has geothermal very soon, it is going to go into oil-to-chemicals,” he said. (CONTINUED - 1493 WORDS)