Russia Offers Assurances Over Oil Supply after Saudi Attacks

Russia’s energy minister Alexander Novak told reporters on Monday there is enough oil in global stockpiles to replace Saudi Arabia after the world top producer’s production capacity was temporarily lost due to attacks on its oil facilities, Reuters reports.

Saturday’s attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, which temporarily stopped about five percent of global supply, caused the biggest surge in Brent crude prices since the 1991 Gulf War.

Asked whether Russia was ready to increase production, Novak said that Saudi Arabia would first provide its estimate of the attack’s consequences.

“But currently, we understand that the world has enough commercial stockpiles to cover the shortage… in the mid-term,” Novak said, adding he planned to have a call with his newly appointed Saudi counterpart, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.

Oil producer Saudi Aramco said the attack, which Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for, had cut output by 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd).

Novak said Russia was sticking to its commitments under the global oil production deal and that it was premature to talk about any possible changes to production levels.

Saudi Arabia, the United States, and China have hundreds of millions of barrels of oil in strategic reserve. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he had authorized a release from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), which coordinates energy policies of industrialized nations, advises all its members to keep the equivalent of 90 days of net oil imports in storage.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters separately on Monday that Russia would wait to see how the situation develops before taking any action on production.

According to a Citibank note, Russia has roughly 295,000 bpd of idle oil capacity, with about half of that at top oil producer Rosneft.