Washington: US President Donald Trump announced that he has authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve following the recent drone attack against two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.
“Based on the attack on Saudi Arabia which may have an impact on oil prices, I have authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if needed, in a to-be-determined amount sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied,” Xinhua news agency quoted Trump as saying in a tweet on Sunday.
“I have also informed all appropriate agencies to expedite approvals of the oil pipelines currently in the permitting process in Texas and various other States,” the President added.
Trump;s announcement comes after the attack on Saturday, which was carried out by 10 unmanned aircraft, hit the Hijra Khurais – one of Saudi Arabia’s largest oil fields, producing about 1.5 million barrels a day – and Abqaiq, the world’s biggest crude stabilization facility, which processes seven million barrels of Saudi oil a day, or about 8 per cent of the world’s total output.
The attack that disrupted about half of the Kingdom’s oil capacity, or 5 per cent of the daily global oil supply, has raised global concerns over oil supplies.
Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud announced on Sunday that the attack caused temporary suspension of production at targeted oil plants.
According to state energy company Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia saw production cut by 5.7 million barrels, or about 50 per cent of the company’s daily production.
The production at the plants have also been temporarily halted.
Although the Yemeni Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denied it, saying: “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen”, while blaming Iran instead.
Iran has rejected Pompeo’s “baseless” allegation.
The Kingdom’s total production hovers around 10 million barrels per day, with an average of 9.85 million barrels per day in August, data from the US Energy Information Administration show.
The international community has voiced its condemnation of the attacks and an investigation has been launched, according to the Saudi Interior Ministry.
Trump in another tweet on Sunday said that his administration is waiting to hear from Saudi Arabia as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms the US would proceed.
US oil futures advanced about 12 per cent to $61.60 a barrel shortly after trading opened Sunday evening, while Brent crude futures soared 13 percent to nearly 69 dollars a barrel, The Wall Street Journal reported.