Oil Prices Jump Following Drone Attack On Saudi Oil Facility

The price of oil saw a massive price spike Monday following drone strikes on a Saudi oil facility over the weekend that has shut off more than half of the kingdom’s daily exports, or about 5% of the world’s crude production.

Benchmark Brent crude briefly surged almost 20% in early trading before settling to 10% higher, up $6 to $66.28, according to The Associated Press. The U.S. benchmark West Texas crude was up 9%.

The increase, which follows drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil processing plant and Khurais oil field, marks the single-largest daily surge in crude prices in years.

Experts say it could take weeks before the kingdom is able to restore full production at the facilities, according to The Telegraph.

Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attacks. Although Saudi officials have been cautious about laying blame, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has directly accused Tehran of playing a key role in the strikes.

“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” Pompeo tweeted Saturday.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi dismissed Washington’s accusations, calling them “blind and futile.”

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

President Trump on Sunday tweeted that he had authorized the release of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve if necessary “in a to-be-determined amount … sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied.”

The president also tweeted that “we know the culprit” and said the U.S. was “locked and loaded depending on verification.”

Trump has used similar language about North Korea in the past and toward Tehran in June after a U.S. drone was shot down over what Washington says were international waters.

Trump’s latest tweets followed a National Security Council meeting at the White House that included Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the AP reported.

According to figures from the Paris-based International Energy Agency, the loss of the 5.7 million barrels of crude production from the Saudi facility represents the largest such disruption on record.

Riyadh says its stockpiles will keep world markets supplied until it can repair the damage at Abqaiq and Khurais.

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