Riyadh blames, Iran, Houthis for attack on oil facility

Riyadh blames, Iran, Houthis for attack on oil facility

Global oil benchmark Brent crude rose 1.6 percent yesterday after Saudi Arabia reported a "cowardly" attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels on two oil pumping stations using "armed drones".

But analysts said the U.S. -Iranian tension following Washington's decision this month to try to cut Iran's oil exports to zero and beef up its military presence in the Gulf in response to what it said were Iranian threats. Now, would I do that? Hopefully we're not going to have to plan for that. Trump says it's "fake news", but that he would "absolutely" be willing to send troops if necessary.

Iran's supreme leader issued a veiled threat in the same speech in which he stated that "no one is seeking war", saying it wouldn't be hard for the Islamic Republic to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels amid rising tensions with the US, state media reported Wednesday.

"There won't be any war".

Iranian officials have said that they could reach 20% enrichment within four days. He repeated that Tehran would not negotiate with Washington over Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

Iran, which is ensnared in an escalating war of words with the United States over sanctions and the USA military presence in the region, moved to distance itself from the controversy on Monday. Tehran had agreed to curb its uranium enrichment capacity, a potential pathway to a nuclear bomb, and won sanctions relief in return under the accord signed during the administration of Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.

"Although crude oil inventories built more than the market expected due to higher imports, prices remained supported due to the geopolitical dynamics of the Middle East", said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.

On Monday, a USA official familiar with US intelligence had said Iran was a leading candidate for having carried out attacks on the four tankers but that the United States did not have conclusive proof Tehran was behind them.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that "extremist individuals" in the USA government were pursuing risky policies and that Tehran is not seeking confrontation.

Houthi-run Masirah TV earlier said the group had carried out drone attacks on "vital" Saudi installations in response to "continued aggression and blockade" on Yemen. The Houthis have repeatedly launched drone and missile attacks on Saudi cities, but two Saudi sources told Reuters this was the first time an Aramco facility was hit by drones.

Main Saudi oil pipeline shut after attacks The droneattacks shut down one of Saudi Arabia's main oil pipelines Tuesday.

The attacks targeted two oil pump stations on the East-West Pipeline, which carries oil from Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province to the Port of Yanbu, the Saudi Press Agency reported. It added that Saudi Aramco's oil and gas supplies were not affected.

It came two days after four oil tankers, including two Saudi-owned ones, were damaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in what Emirati officials described as acts of sabotage.

He urged for global efforts to confront all terrorist groups that carry out such acts, including the Houthi militias in Yemen that are allegedly backed by Iran.

Oil futures inched up on Wednesday as the prospect of mounting tensions in the Middle East hitting global supplies overshadowed an unexpected build in US crude inventories.

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