Oil prices spike after Saudi attack disrupts global supply


Prices eased off their peaks after US President Donald Trump said he approved the release of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) if needed in a quantity to be determined due to the attack on Saudi Arabia's facilities.

The drone attacks by Iran-backed Houthi fighters on Saudi Arabia's state-owned Aramco oil facilities have curtailed production of crude oil and gas of the world's top exporter by half.

Yemen's Houthi rebels on Saturday claimed responsibility for the drone attacks on two Aramco oil plants in the east of Saudi Arabia, Houthi-run al-Masirah TV reported.

The US official, who asked not to be identified, said on Sunday there were 19 points of impact in the attack on Saudi facilities and that evidence showed the launch area was west-northwest of the targets - not south from Yemen.

Kumar noted that the damage to the attacked facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais looked extensive and it would take weeks before oil supplies get normal.

Saudi Arabia has pledged that its stockpiles would keep global markets supplied as it rushes to fix damage at the Abqaiq facility and its Khurais oil field.

Trump's suggestion that he's going to let the Saudis decide who is to blame nearly certainly is going to end with Iran being blamed too, even though evidence points to Yemen's Houthis.

On Saturday, Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, advocated a different approach.

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Arch-foes Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since May a year ago, when President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a 2015 deal that promised Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

Oil prices fell on Friday, with Brent crude, the global price benchmark slipping 0.3% to close at $60.22 per barrel.

The drone assaults led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels of crude oil.

The attack dimmed hopes for potential nuclear talks between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly this week. But Saturday's attack was very significant considering the magnitude of the damage as it crippled half of the country's energy output, at least for a temporary period. Under the 2015 agreement, Iran promised to restrict its nuclear program, but after the USA withdrew, Iran stopped fulfilling some of its commitments under the accord.

Prince Abdulaziz says the attacks were aimed not only at Saudi Arabia, but also at the world's oil supply and its security. "A geopolitical risk premium will return to the oil price".

Huge palls of smoke rose into the sky after the pre-dawn attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two key Aramco facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia as the giant prepares for a much-anticipated stock listing.

The development comes as Saudi Aramco takes steps to go public in what could be the world's biggest IPO.

Despite the rising tensions, the White House left open the door that Trump could meet with Rohani at the United Nations General Assembly in NY, which begins on September 17.