Saudi oil attack part of unsafe new pattern

Elias Hubbard
September 17, 2019

Saudi Arabia's state oil giant Aramco has told PetroChina that some loadings of light crude oil for October would be delayed up by to around 10 days, after the attacks on critical Saudi oil infrastructure this weekend, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing a senior Chinese state oil source familiar with the issue.

Yemen's Houthi rebels, who have been locked in a war with a Saudi-UAE-led coalition since 2015, claimed responsibility for the attacks, warning Saudi Arabia that their targets "will keep expanding".

Imran Khan reiterated Pakistan's full support and solidarity with the brotherly country against any threat to its security and territorial integrity.

But tensions roiling the Persian Gulf have escalated following a weekend attack on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia that the US alleged Iran was responsible for - a charge Iran denies.

"These attacks resulted in production suspension of 5.7 million barrels of crude oil per day", Saudi Aramco said in a statement.

"At the moment we're analysing, along with our partners, who is responsible for this attack and how it could happen", Maas told a news conference.

Those tensions have been boiling ever since Trump pulled the U.S. out of Iran's 2015 agreement with world powers that curtailed Iranian nuclear activities and the U.S. re-imposed sanctions that sent Iran's economy into freefall. Despite the Houthi claim, the launch site was still being determined.

Saturday's attacks raised the specter of a major supply shock in a market that in recent months has been preoccupied with demand concerns and faltering global growth. At least one missile passed through airspace over Kuwait, a USA ally.

The US has now categorically accused Iran of staging a swarm attack of 20 drones and a dozen missiles on the Saudi separation plant at Abqaiq, the biggest oil operation in the world.

If the current US campaign succeeds, Khameni says, Iran could then expect to face more "maximum pressure" policies from the global community.

"We have some elements on the attack that are not ours that we are studying, but we want to check with our own sources and it takes time", a French diplomatic source said on Tuesday. According to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, Khameni says it's vital for Iran to prove the strategy "has absolutely no value".

"The attack doesn't help what we are trying to do, but before we leap into the blame game, we need something concrete".

The supreme leader reiterated this on Tuesday, saying that if the U.S. Kuwait, which sits between Iraq and Saudi Arabia and is close to western Iran, separately has acknowledged investigating reports of a drone or low-flying object speeding over the oil-rich country early Saturday just before the Saudi attack.

On Monday, Trump said it "certainly" looked like Iran was behind the attack, but the USA wants "to find definitively who did this".

"I don't want to have war with anybody" but our military is prepared, Trump said at the White House on Monday.

"The President will always consider his options", Conway said when asked if Trump would still sit down with Rouhani under current circumstances.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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