World 'cannot bear' two weeks without Saudi oil: energy minister

World 'cannot bear' two weeks without Saudi oil: energy minister
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said that protecting Saudi Arabia's oil companies from cyber attacks was of paramount importance.
2 min read
10 November, 2022
Saudi Arabia's energy minister Abdulaziz bin Salman made the comments at the Global Cybersecurity Forum in Riyadh [Getty/file photo]

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said the world cannot bear more than two or three weeks without Saudi oil exports

"The world cannot withstand two, three weeks without the exports of Saudi Arabia," the energy minister said in response to a question about the importance of global efforts to fight cyber attacks at the second Global Cybersecurity Forum in Riyadh on Wednesday.

He admitted Saudi Arabia's energy sector remains vulnerable to cyber attacks and called on the world to collectively tackle cybersecurity challenges in the same way they worked together to counter Covid-19.  

His comments are similar to those made by the CEO of Saudi Aramco Amin Nasser, Saudi Arabia's state oil producer, who said that cyberattacks now pose the same threats to the energy sector that physical attacks once did. 

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The Global Cybersecurity Forum was founded by Saudi Arabia's National Cybersecurity Authority to advance the global cybersecurity agenda and to strengthen the kingdom's cyber defences. 

Last month, the prince described the controversial decision by the Saudi-led OPEC+ bloc to cut oil output in October as "mature" and said that Riyadh was prepared to export more oil if needed.

Following the OPEC+ announcement, the energy minister appeared to criticise the US for releasing oil from their emergency stockpiles in order to lower oil prices.

This, he said, was manipulating the market and such supplies should only be used to mitigate shortages in supply.

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Saudi Arabia's oil facilities have been targeted by multiple cyber attacks over the past few years. In 2021, a trove of data was leaked from Saudi Aramco in what was called a cyber-extortion attempt.

Earlier in 2012, Aramco was struck by a self-replicating virus that infected around 30,000 of its Windows machines, taking around two weeks to recover. 

Aramco facilities have also been physically targeted in drone and rocket strikes by Iran-linked militias in the region.