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Saudi Aramco looks to buy insurance covering against war, terrorism after attacks

Riyadh and Washington blamed attacks on Aramco oil facilities in September on Iran [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 December, 2019

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Attacks on two of the Saudi state oil giant's facilities in September temporarily knocked out 5 percent of the world's crude oil supply.

Saudi Aramco is seeking to purchase insurance to cover against war and terror attacks months after a drone and missile attack on two of its oil facilities, sources told Reuters.

Aramco, the world's largest oil producer, is looking to cover facilities in the kingdom's Eastern Province, where it suffered the September attacks, one of the sources said.

The move to cover against further damages comes just weeks after the company launched its much-anticipated Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Questions over the profitability and sustainability of the company persist despite the offering, the valuation of which missed a $2 trillion target set by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Aramco said in its prospectus for the IPO listing that its cover may not protect it from acts of war or terrorism.

The firm is looking for insurance against such attacks from Lloyd's of London and elsewhere in the London market, the sources said.

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Aramco insures much of its property through Bermuda-based insurer Stellar Insurance, but its existing "excess of loss" insurance does not cover war or terror attacks, or revenue losses due to interruptions, one of the sources said.

The Saudi state oil giant said at the launch of the IPO that it did not expect the September attacks to have an impact on its finances or operations, but a source said an initial estimate put losses from the strikes at 2 billion riyals ($533 million).

The September attacks on Aramco oil facilities, which the United States and Saudi Arabia blamed on Iran, temporarily shut down 5.7 million barrels per day of the company's output, more than 5 percent of global oil supply.

Possible insurance options for Aramco range from covering against terror or sabotage attacks to including cover against war or civil war, as well as business interruptions.

An official at the Saudi-based Advanced Electronics Company said last month that the state oil giant would protect its oil refineries using drones produced in the kingdom.

Aramco is looking to raise around $25 billion from its IPO, mostly from domestic and Gulf investors.

The plan to sell part of the company is crucial to the crown prince's plans for a wider economic overhaul aimed at raising new streams of revenue for the oil-dependent country, with oil prices currently struggling to reach the price range per barrel analysts say is necessary for Saudi Arabia to balance its budget.

Bin Salman has said listing Aramco is one way for the kingdom to raise capital for the country's sovereign wealth fund, which would then be used to finance mega projects across Saudi Arabia as part of the crown prince's Vision 2030

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