Saudi energy minister sends message of support to Texas as state battles snow

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud sent “hope and good wishes for our friends” in Texas, Oklahoma, California, and Louisiana, at the International Energy Forum on Wednesday, as several states battle storms.

“I certainly have some remarks to make, but I couldn’t start without having to put a few words of hope and good wishes for our friends, and I would add family members, in many cases in Texas, Oklahoma, California, Louisiana,” the Saudi minister said.

Texas’s freeze entered a sixth day on Thursday, as the largest energy-producing state in the United States grappled with massive refining outages and oil and gas shutins that rippled beyond its borders into neighboring Mexico.

Prince Abdulaziz added: “I certainly as a Saudi, as someone who is heading this sector, I can speak volumes about the friendship and partnerships and sense of family that we have with so many of these states. I can speak on behalf of the whole sector, to say that our hearts and minds are with you.”

The energy minister said Saudi Arabia “would leave no capacity that we have within our reach that we could offer to help and support, that we would be ready and stand ready to be that supportive friend and supportive family member.”

The cold snap, which has killed at least 21 people and knocked out power to more than 4 million people in Texas, is not expected to let up until this weekend. The deep freeze has shut in about one-fifth of the nation’s refining capacity and closed oil and natural gas production across the state.

The outages in Texas also affected power generation in Mexico, with exports of natural gas via pipeline dropping off by about 75 percent over the last week, according to preliminary Refinitiv

Eikon data. Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed the state’s natural gas providers not to ship outside Texas and asked state regulators to enforce that ban, prompting reviews.

The state’s electrical grid operator, ERCOT, was trying to restore power as thermal generators – those powered by natural gas, coal, and other fuels – lost the capability to provide power as valves and pipes froze.

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