U.S. intelligence indicates Saudi Arabia oil attacks were staged from Iran

Darnell Taylor
September 17, 2019

Malaysia is one of the few Asian countries that will benefit from the spike in oil prices in the aftermath of the attack on Saudi Arabia's petroleum facilities that knocked out more than five per cent of global supply over the weekend, say analysts.

Esper met with President Trump and key national security officials at the White House on Monday, two days after a series of explosions crippled two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, disrupting more than half the Sunni kingdom's oil supply and dramatically escalating tensions with its chief rival, Shiite power Iran.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, "We will work with global partners to forge the widest and most effective response", with a statement from his ministry saying the "UK remains committed to supporting the security of Saudi Arabia".

China's Foreign Ministry maintained that it was irresponsible to blame anyone for an attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities without conclusive facts, striking a cautious note after the United States blamed Iran.

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was no evidence the attack came from Yemen.

Some industry experts say we could see a jump at the gas pumps as early as this week.

The prospect of oil releases from strategic inventories in the U.S., the International Energy Agency and some big buying countries such as Japan have weighed on prices, but the geopolitical threat of retaliation in the Middle East is causing concerns. In the first half of this year, the USA imported fewer than half the amount of barrels each day from Saudi Arabia than it did two years ago.

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"Today's press conference is going to be crucial - we have to wait for that really", said Olivier Jakob, managing director at consultant Petromatrix GmbH in Zug, Switzerland.

Saudi Aramco lost about 5.7 million barrels a day of output on Saturday after 10 unmanned aerial vehicles struck the Abqaiq facility and the kingdom's second-largest oil field in Khurais.

"The Americans adopted the "maximum pressure" policy against Iran, which, due to its failure, is leaning toward 'maximum lies, ' " Mousavi said.

He hypothesised about a joint Houthi-Iran combined drone and missile assault launched from Yemen.

The market eased from its peak after Trump said he would release USA emergency supplies and producers said there were enough stocks stored up worldwide to make up for the shortfall. WTI (the benchmark in oil pricing) crude oil prices rose 11% to around $60 a barrel, the highest price since May. Saudi Arabia will take weeks to return to its full oil production capacity, according to Bloomberg.

Iran rejected the allegations, and a government spokesman said there now is "absolutely no chance" of a hoped-for meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Trump at the U.N. General Assembly next week. The country was responsible for about 12% of the world's oil production in 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. He added, the attack did not originate from Yemen as claimed by the rebels.

Russian Federation and China said it was wrong to jump to conclusions about who was to blame for the attack on Saudi Arabia.

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