US weighs more intel sharing with Saudi Arabia after attack

REUTERS

The Saudi Arabia attack were reportedly carried out by Yemen's Houthi rebels but the U.S. has blamed Iran, claiming the Middle Eastern state supported the rebels.

Tensions have escalated since drone attacks on two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. 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. "Blaming Iran won't end disaster". Prices spiked, with Brent trading up by almost 20 percent. The jump was the biggest since the 1991 Gulf War.

US benchmark West Texas crude was up around 8%.

Crude oil prices soared more than 15% after the Aramco-run plants suffered heavy damage. In the short term, gas prices are predicted to go up stateside by as much as 24 cents per gallon.

At 5.7 million barrels of crude oil a day, the Saudi disruption would be the greatest on record for world markets, according to figures from the Paris-based International Energy Agency. It just edges out the 5.6 million-barrels-a-day disruption around the time of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, according to the IEA.

Analyst Jon Rigby and team at UBS said in a note on Monday morning: "The direct impact from the shutdown on physical oil markets will be determined by its duration, and the CEO of Saudi Aramco said on Saturday that an update will be provided in 48 hours".

Over the weekend, the US Secretary of State blamed Iran on the attacks without providing any proof.

Meanwhile, President Trump also tweeted the USA was "locked and loaded" and ready to respond to the attacks when the Saudis verified who was behind them.

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

Faced with a possible disruption to the USA energy supply, Trump said Sunday that he has authorized the release of oil from the U.S. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the internal deliberations.

Trump has said the United States was "locked and loaded" to retaliate and on Monday questioned Iran's claim that it had nothing to do with Saturday's attack.

Trump has said his goal is to force Iran to negotiate a tougher agreement and has left open the possibility of talks with President Hassan Rouhani at an upcoming United Nations meeting.

USA officials also offered highly detailed satellite photos of the Saudi sites that show damage suggesting the attack came from the north, where Iran or Iraq are, rather than from Yemen to the south. Iraq's prime minister has denied the attack came from his country, where Iranian-backed Shiite rebels operate. Iraqi Premier Adel Abdel-Mahdi said he received a call Monday from Pompeo, without elaborating.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi dismissed Washington's accusations, calling them "blind and futile".

Tension in the oil-producing Gulf region has dramatically escalated this year after Trump imposed severe US sanctions on Iran aimed at halting its oil exports altogether.

"The preliminary results show that the weapons are Iranian and we are now working to determine the location" of their launch, al-Maliki said, according to the Saudi Gazette. This image provided on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, by the USA government and DigitalGlobe and annotated by the source, shows damage to the infrastructure at at Saudi Aramco's Kuirais oil field in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabi.

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