Wednesday, 20 November, 2019

Platts: Oil Could Test $80 After Attacks In Saudi Arabia

Oil prices post biggest gain since 1991 Gulf War after attacks on Saudi plants Oil Jumps Most on Record After Attack
Russell Knight | 19 September, 2019, 15:13

Smoke from a fire at the Abqaiq oil processing facility fills the skyline, in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia.

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

An attack on Saudi Arabia that triggered the biggest jump in oil prices in nearly 30 years was carried out with Iranian weapons, a Saudi-led coalition said on Monday, as President Donald Trump said the United States was "locked and loaded" to hit back.

Asia is the region most vulnerable to big supply disruptions.

Brent prices were up to $66.70 a barrel - while the USA benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, also climbed to $63.11.

Saudi's energy infrastructure has been hit by the Houthis many times before, but this strike was of a different order, abruptly halting 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) or about six percent of the world's oil supply.

The incident has cut global oil supplies by 5% and prices have soared.

State-run oil company Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited said that the price of petrol and diesel at retail outlets might go up if the price of crude stays at current levels. But he also said the United States was discussing the situation with Saudi Arabia. "It's the difference between my stabbing you in the leg or the shoulder, versus stabbing you in the neck".

Asia is the biggest consumer of Persian Gulf oil, absorbing three-quarters of the oil that traveled out of the region past year.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia were still investigating the attack and have yet to identify a culprit. But Saudi's loss could be America's gain: USA shale producers could step in to save the day and become the real beneficiaries of the situation.

Most of the new oil produced in the U.S.is light and sweet.

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Saudi Arabia said it would be able to meet oil customers' demand from its ample storage, although some deliveries had been disrupted.

Major importers of Saudi crude, such as India, China and Indonesia, will be the most vulnerable to the supply disruption. "There's no other candidate", a US official said on Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The deciders. That tweet, which explicitly put Riyadh in the driver's seat, has raised questions about how much control the US has in the situation. "China trade dispute is tipping the global economy toward recession".

Though they later stabilised, the attacks have resulted in the highest oil prices since early July. That could also weigh on growth at a time when hiring is slowing down and consumers may face higher prices from new tariffs on Chinese imports.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi called the US accusations of Iranian involvement in Saturday's attacks "unacceptable and entirely baseless". "And like Katrina it will likely haunt us for months, at least weeks".

In London, prices for Brent, the worldwide benchmark for crude oil, jumped $12 a barrel, the largest increase since the late 1980s.

"To take Saudi oil production down 50%, that's shocking", said Jonathan Aronson, a research analyst at Cornerstone Macro.

Airlines are big consumers of fuel, and their shares fell Monday after the attacks on Saudi oil facilities. So their markets may be under pressure if the jump in oil prices sustained.

Many details of the attacks remain unclear.

South Korea said it would consider releasing oil from its strategic reserves if circumstances worsened in the wake of Saturday's attacks. The intraday jump was the biggest since the 1991 Gulf War.

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