After claiming that the U.S. drone attacked two Saudi Arabian oil companies (Aramco), the Yemeni armed forces on the 16th threatened to conduct the next round of attacks on Aramco at any time. Despite this, the United States still insists on pointing its finger at Iran. Iran once again refutes that it is a deceptive means for the United States. US President Trump’s statement on the 15th that “the shells have been captained” has brought new stimuli to the international crude oil market that has been in a state of violent shock. “The potential importance of this event is no less than that of the Pearl Harbor incident.” Randy Larsen, who was a professor at the US National War College, told Bloomberg. On the 16th, China, Russia, Germany and other countries called on all parties to exercise restraint and any practice to expand and intensify conflicts.
“The devil has already drilled the bottle”
The 14th attack was not the first attack on the Saudi Bugger oil processing plant, the world’s largest crude oil purification plant. In 2006, terrorists tried to attack Bugueg with explosive vehicles, but the oil price rose by more than $2 per barrel. The US “Wall Street Journal” said on the 16th that since the outbreak of two oil crises in the 1970s, energy security officials have been worried that one of the key nodes of energy production and transportation will be deliberately attacked. Maritime routes such as the Strait of Hormuz are often considered the target of such attacks, but the Bugger oil facility that was attacked this time may be more critical and more fragile.
On the 16th, within a few minutes of the start of the transaction after the attack, the international oil price soared rapidly. London Brent crude oil rose nearly 20% to 72 US dollars / barrel, the largest intraday increase since the 1991 Gulf War. On the 16th, the Asian market was in early trading, and the NYSE WTI crude oil futures price was also about 10% higher. Reuters quoted analysts as saying that Saudi oil production fell by 5.7 million barrels per day, equivalent to about 5% of global supply. If Saudi Arabia cannot quickly resume supply, the price of oil will be $100 a barrel of nightmare or reappearance.
A source told Reuters on the 16th that it would take “a few weeks, not a few days” for Saudi Arabia to resume full capacity. On the evening of the 15th, Trump said on Twitter that he would authorize the release of crude oil from the strategic oil reserve if needed. The Wall Street Journal stated that such reserves were rarely released in history and would not be used without a last resort. The United States currently has more than 600 million barrels of strategic oil reserves. On the 16th, Trump sent another tweet to say that the United States is now the world’s number one energy producer, does not need Middle East oil and gas, and will also help American allies.
Some analysts believe that under the current global supply of crude oil, the impact of Saudi oil facilities on oil prices is temporary. The bigger concern stems from the attack on the oil facility itself. “The devil has already drilled the bottle,” said Bill Farren-Press, head of RS Energy Group in London. It is now clear that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf oil facilities are very vulnerable to this type of attack, which means the geopolitical risk of oil. The premium demand has increased.
According to Iran’s “PressTV” report, Yemen’s Hussein spokesperson Sally said on Twitter on the 16th that Saudi Aramco is still the target of the organization. The next round of attacks will “anytime” and warn foreigners to stay away from the relevant areas. He asked Saudi Arabia to stop “blockade and aggression against Yemen”, otherwise it will attack Saudi Arabia anytime and anywhere.
US and Iraq game enters deep water area
“There is reason to believe that we know who the culprit is.” Trump said on Twitter on the evening of the 15th that according to the results of the verification, the United States “the shells have been captained.” Although the Yemeni Houthi armed forces announced responsibility for the attack, US Secretary of State Pompeo directed the attack on Iran on the 14th. On the 15th, Trump did not mention the name of Iran, saying that he was waiting for Saudi Arabia to identify who was the culprit of the attack. The US “Washington Post” said that although the Pentagon has called for restraint, the Trump administration is said to be considering taking drastic military action. One sign is that Trump met with Defense Minister Esper on the afternoon of the 15th.
Bloomberg commented that before last weekend, the political news leading the crude oil market was the sudden departure of Bolton, the US National Security Advisor, which gave the market some hope. However, Pompeo seems to have put on the cloak of Bolton’s “White House Extreme Hawk”, which has reduced the possibility of Trump’s relaxation of Iranian oil export sanctions. The “evidence” memory of Saddam’s possession of “non-existent” weapons of mass destruction has not yet gone, and Pompeo has accused Tehran without providing any evidence. Russia’s “Viewpoint” said that for Trump, the surge in oil prices would threaten his ambitions in economic policy. But the US’s further threat to Iran will only worsen the oil market.
Some US officials provided satellite images to the media on the 16th, saying that there were at least 19 bombing points in the two oil facilities attacked in Saudi Arabia. The damaged areas showed that the attack was from Iran or Iraq, not from Yemen. But CNN cited an analysis by three image intelligence experts that the images could not support the US government’s allegations.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mousavi said on the 16th that he once again refutes Washington’s accusation that such action against Iran is in line with the biggest deception used by the US after its failure. On the same day, he also ruled out the possibility of Iranian President Rohani meeting with Trump during the UN General Assembly next week. “We don’t have such a plan, and we won’t let it happen.” On the 15th, Trump also downplayed the possibility of meeting with Rohani. “The fake news said that I am willing to meet with the Iranian side. ‘No condition, this is wrong. The argument.”
According to Agence France-Presse reported on the 16th, Iran announced on the same day that it detained a vessel and 11 crew members in the Strait of Hormuz. The Iranian side said that the ship was suspected of “smuggling fuel” but did not state the nationality of the crew.
US Energy Secretary Perry said in an interview with CNBC on the 16th that it is time to unite countries and form an alliance to stop Iran’s “malicious” activities. On the same day, the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Salish, called on the international community to unanimously condemn the “destructive behavior” of the United States and “economic terrorism” against other countries. The “Middle East Online” website commented that the US-Iraqi crisis has further escalated and the two sides entered the “deep water zone”.
The Washington Post commented that regardless of the behind-the-scenes ambassador who attacked the Saudi oil field, the incident confirmed that the US government’s Middle East policy has failed. Germany’s “World News” said that how to solve the Gulf crisis is not only related to the Middle East, but also to the world economy and politics, and will be a big topic for Trump’s re-election. This has become a more and more difficult problem for Trump.
The most unnecessary need at the moment is the conflict.
Saudi Arabia-led coalition spokesman Maliki said on the 16th that according to preliminary investigations, Iranian weapons were attacked on Saudi oil facilities, not from Yemen. They are trying to determine where the weapon will be launched.
This incident has aroused great concern from the international community. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on the 16th that Moscow strongly condemned the drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, but suggested not to rush to infer who is behind the attack, and said that it is unacceptable to propose the option of retaliation. German Foreign Minister Mas also “severely condemned” the attack on the same day, saying that “the situation is extremely worrying, and the most unnecessary need is the conflict.”
On the 16th, when asked “US officials said that Iran is responsible for the attack on Saudi oil facilities, and China believes that there is such a possibility,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said that without a conclusion from the investigation. It may be less responsible to determine who is responsible. China’s position is that we oppose any expansion and intensification of conflicts and call on the parties concerned to refrain from actions that lead to escalation of regional tensions. It is hoped that all parties will exercise restraint and jointly safeguard peace and stability in the Middle East.
Some media in the Middle East warned that the incident set a precedent for using drones to attack enemy energy sources, highlighting the fragility of oil facilities in defense, the intricacies of the situation in the Middle East, and the cruel reality of rising geopolitical conflicts. If this model is replicated, the Gulf and the Middle East will have a hard time. The German “Rhein Post” said that oil prices are thermometers that measure whether the world economy is burning, but the market often calms down after the initial reaction to the shock. Ultimately, political factors and reactions determine how the situation in the Gulf region and the oil market change.