Trump says US will help allies after Saudi oil attacks
September 17 2019 12:49 AM
US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump

AFP/Washington

President Donald Trump on Monday promised to supply oil to US allies, after attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure that Washington has blamed on Iran.

"We are a net Energy Exporter & now the Number One Energy Producer in the World," Trump tweeted.

Trump's comments come after weekend drone strikes on two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, which slashed the country's oil production by half and led both the kingdom and the United States to announce they may tap into their strategic reserves.

Tehran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, have claimed responsibility.

On Sunday, Trump warned that the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond to the Saturday attacks.

It is the first time the president has hinted at a potential American military response to the drone strikes.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the United States was the top global oil producer in 2018, churning out 18mn barrels per day of crude and refined product.

Saudi Arabia was the largest exporter but vies with Russia for second place in overall petroleum production.

World oil markets can still draw on sizeable reserves despite the attack on Saudi Arabian production facilities, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Monday.

The attack sent oil prices rocketing higher on Monday, stoking fears that costlier energy could dampen global economic growth and weigh down global equities markets.

"The market has a fairly substantial amount of oil out there available," Perry told CNBC.

Perry also said it was "premature" to discuss drawing on US strategic reserves while damage to Saudi output was still being assessed.

US and Saudi officials have blamed Iran for the attacks but Tehran has dismissed the accusations, suggesting that Washington was seeking a pretext to attack the Islamic republic.

Meanwhile, Saudi authorities are considering whether to delay an IPO for oil giant Aramco after the attack on its oil facilities shut down a major chunk of global production, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The attack shut down about half of Saudi production, or some 5% of global production, according to Craig Erlam of foreign exchange company Oanda.

Prices for North Sea Brent crude oil on Monday took their biggest one-day jump ever as markets reacted to the drone attacks.

In London, Brent benchmark crude for November delivery rocketed 14.6% higher, adding $8.80 to settle at $69.02 per barrel — the largest increase since trading in the contract began in 1988, according to Bloomberg.

Meanwhile in New York, West Texas Intermediate likewise jumped 14% to $62.90, the biggest increase in more than a decade.



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