Trump Says U.S. 'Locked and Loaded' After Attack on Saudi Oil Facilities
By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter
September 16, 2019
Oil prices spiked on Monday following an attack on Saudi Arabia's oil production facilities that knocked out half of the country's production capacity, halting more than half of the kingdom's daily exports.
The attack cut Saudi oil production by 5.7 million barrels of crude oil per day, or about 5% of the world's daily oil production. Saudi state-owned gas company Aramco, said they work was underway to restore production and would provide an update shortly on how it was going. Oil prices soared on Monday, with U.S. oil up 9.8% at a little more than $60 a barrel, with the Brent crude up 10.4%, at just over $66 a barrel. Experts say the attacks on Saudi oil production facilities mark the biggest oil disruption in history.
The attacks on Saturday likely involved cruise missiles and attack drones, one U.S. official told CNN. The attacks did not originate out of Iraq, despite earlier reports to the contrary. Iraq's prime minister said on Monday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had told him the attacks were not launched from Iraq.
News of the strike prompted President Donald Trump on Sunday to say the U.S. was "locked and loaded" for a potential response following the attacks. The president also said he had authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), if needed, to keep the oil market well-supplied and prices under control.
On Monday, the president added that thanks to investments in energy over the last several years, the U.S. doesn't need oil from the Middle East.
"Because we have done so well with Energy over the last few years (thank you, Mr. President!), we are a net Energy Exporter, & now the Number One Energy Producer in the World," Trump tweeted on Monday. "We don’t need Middle Eastern Oil & Gas, & in fact have very few tankers there, but will help our Allies!"
While Yemen Houthi rebels appeared to take responsibility for Saturday's attack on the oil production facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, several senior administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, appeared to place the blame on Iran for the attack.
"We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks," Pompeo tweeted on Saturday. "The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression."
President Trump also appeared to implicate Iran in the attacks, tweeting on Monday that, "Remember when Iran shot down a drone, saying knowingly that it was in their “airspace” when, in fact, it was nowhere close. They stuck strongly to that story knowing that it was a very big lie. Now they say that they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We’ll see?"
Iran has denied involvement in the attacks on the oil production facilities. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Pompeo of "maximum deceit."
"U.S. & its clients are stuck in Yemen because of illusion that weapon superiority will lead to military victory," Zarif tweeted. "Blaming Iran won't end disaster. Accepting our ... proposal to end war & begin talks may."