Monday, 21 October, 2019

Oil prices soar more than 10% after Saudi plant attacks

Saudi races to restore oil supply after strike blamed on Iran Drone strikes take out half of Saudi Arabia's oil and gas production
Russell Knight | 17 September, 2019, 08:00

Saudi Arabia is not only the world's biggest oil exporter, it has a unique role in the market as the only country with enough spare capacity to increase or decrease its output by millions of barrels per day, keeping the market stable.

A lengthy disruption is nearly certain to drive global oil prices well above the $60 a barrel that trading closed at on Friday.

The remarks came as the price of oil on the world market soared in response to the attacks.

A Chevron spokesman told Reuters the company sources crude from "multiple global suppliers", and it will "take the necessary actions to continue to meet the needs of the marketplace".

White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday that President Donald Trump has "many options on the table" in terms of what he could do to respond to what his administration has described as Iran's role in a crippling strike on Saudi Arabia's oil production this weekend.

Trump tweeted that the attacks "may have an impact on oil prices" which is why the U.S. has chose to release oil from the reserve to "keep the markets well-supplied".

Despite the Houthi claim, Pompeo on Saturday placed blame on Iran, accusing Zarif, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani of duplicity.

US crude futures jumped 15 percent to the highest since May.

According to USA government information, there were 19 points of attack at state-owned Saudi Aramco's crude-processing facility at Abqaiq and the Khurais oil field, all on the north or northwest-facing sides - suggesting that the weaponry used came from that direction.

On Sept. 14, the official Saudi Press Agency reported the blazes at the Abqaiq and Khurais facilities. Officials said they would use other facilities and existing stocks to supplant the gap in production.

Tensions have been high since Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 and strictly reimposed sanctions, including on Iran's oil industry - its economic lifeblood.

The officials say the intelligence shows that the strikes are inconsistent with the kind of attack that would have been launched from Yemen.

Iran calls the charges it is behind the attack, "maximum lies".

Additional devices that missed their targets were recovered northwest of the facilities and are being jointly analyzed by Saudi and US intelligence, The Associated Press reported. "With that in view, the official communication on the matter has fallen woefully short so far".

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Those marks were not visible in a month's worth of earlier satellite images of the facility.

"How the United States and Saudi Arabia deal with the situation will be closely watched", said Margaret Yang, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore.

The attacks on Saudi Arabia also pose a major test for Pompeo, who has an opportunity to consolidate power after Bolton's departure. The cabinet said the prime minister ordered tighter security at vital installations.

Separately, KUNA said authorities would investigate reports of drones flying over Kuwait.

"The President's just said he's looking at it".

Germany is condemning the attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and calling for de-escalation in the region.

USA allies in Europe oppose Trump's strategy, arguing that it provides no clear mechanism to defuse tensions, creating a risk that the foes could stumble into war.

Mousavi said that the Yemenis have proved that they have resisted against aggressions and war crimes by the Saudi-led coalition for the past five years. Supplies have been mostly in balance this year, as US production has made up for declines in Venezuela and Iran.

There would be worries that the global oil supply is more insecure and that more attacks may be coming. This development has heightened tensions between Iran and the USA as Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has blamed Tehran for the attack. In fact, he said there was no evidence that the attack came from Yemen. And so to have this sort of brazen strike on these oil installations is going to be a challenge for Saudi Aramco and the Saudi government. But there's now little cushion in the market with the major disruption caused by the drone attacks, which could force the president and his team to look for ways to relieve the pressure.

"However Saudi Aramco keeps some redundancy in the system to maintain production during maintenance", Rapidan added, meaning operations could return to pre-attack levels sooner. Oil prices surged more than 10% late Sunday. "Accepting our April '15 proposal to end war & begin talks may".

"The Gulf of Mexico was a logical choice for oil storage sites".

It says Iraq would act "decisively" if anyone tried to use its territory to attack other countries. But Mr Pompeo alleged on Twitter that Iran was behind what he called an "unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply". Israel has also carried out multiple attacks on Iraqi soil in recent months on this pretext.

President Donald Trump called the Saudi crown prince after the attack, expressing USA support for the kingdom's security and stability.

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