Skip to content
Javier Blas

Can Saudi Aramco Meet Its Oil Production Promises?

The oil giant is running out of capacity to pump more crude. 

Aramco CEO Amin Nasser faces a crucial test.

Aramco CEO Amin Nasser faces a crucial test.

Photographer: Mohammed Al-Nemer/Bloomberg

If the oil market was a religion, its central article of faith would be the maximum production capacity of Saudi Aramco, a tenet based on confidence in what we hope to be true and belief in properties we have not yet witnessed. The market is about to have its epiphany. 

Aramco, the state-owned Saudi Arabian oil giant, claims it can sustainably pump 12 million barrels a day, well above the kingdom’s OPEC+ August target of 11 million barrels. For the global economy, Saudi spare capacity is the last line of defense against more energy inflation. But apart from a few top company executives and a handful of Saudi royals, no one knows for sure whether Aramco can deliver. The rest either have blind faith in Aramco — or simply don’t believe.