State-run oil company Saudi Aramco reports that profits in the first half of 2020 plunged by 50% compared to the same period last year, with decreased demand in oil caused by COVID-19 cited as the main reason by CEO Amin H. Nasser. The company plans to uphold its promise of paying out US$75 billion in annual dividends in spite of this.
Saudi Aramco announces it will go public on the Riyadh stock exchange, with shares totalling up to two percent of the firm's worth made available at its IPO launch. Valued at US$1.2 trillion, the company is being partially privatized to reduce the kingdom's economic dependence on oil.
Following the drone attacks on Saudi Aramco facilities, the price of benchmark Brent Crude oil futures contracts surges as high as 19.5% at market opening, the biggest increase in percentage terms since the 1990 oil price shock in response to Ba'athist Iraq invading Kuwait.
Two Saudi Aramco oil refineries, one in Abqaiq and one in Khurais, Saudi Arabia, are attacked by drones, resulting in massive fires. The fires are under control, according to the Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry. Houthi militants claim responsibility, saying that they used 10 drones for the attack.
The Royal Saudi Air Defense intercepts a ballistic missile fired from Yemen over the Saudi capital Riyadh that caused panic among residents. Houthis say they fired several Burkan-2 missiles at targets in Saudi Arabia, including Saudi Aramco oil facilities. Separately, Saudi Air Defenses shoot down two Houthi-operated Qasef-1 drones near the border.
The head of the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority Andrew Bailey admits to meeting oil giant Saudi Aramco over a potential £1.5 trillion listing on the London Stock Exchange. The regulator has been criticised for proposing changes to listing rules to accommodate sovereign-owned companies.