Saudi attacks send oil prices soaring

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2:38 p.m. ET, September 16, 2019

Sources: The US has assessed that the attack on Saudi oil facilities originated inside Iran

The US has told at least one US ally in the Middle East, that they have intelligence showing that the launch was “likely” coming from staging grounds in Iran, but they have not shared that intelligence yet. “It is one thing to tell us, it is another thing to show us,” said a diplomat from the region.  

A US official separately tells CNN that the US has assessed that the attack originated from inside Iran. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

No public evidence has been shared.

What countries in the region decide to do, in reaction to the Saudi oil field attack, largely depends on what the US is willing to do, the source said. CNN reported earlier that Secretary of State is expected to speak with the UAE Crown Prince on Monday and other nations.  

The Pentagon declined to comment. The State Department and the White House did not respond to a request for comment. 

The WSJ first reported that the US was telling countries region that the attacks were launched inside Iran.

More context: The attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia likely involved cruise missiles and attack drones, a separate US official familiar with the intelligence assessment told CNN earlier today. The official said that the attacks did not originate from Iraq but would not say whether they originated from Iran or Yemen. Iraq's Prime Minister issued a statement Monday saying that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had told him that the attacks had not originated from Iraq. The State Department when asked about the call, said “no comment.”

The US maintains an enhanced awareness of the airspace over Iraq given US military operations there as part of the counter-ISIS coalition. 

While the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen have used attack drones in the past, those attacks have typically been launched against Saudi targets close to the border.

The recent attacks against the Saudi oil facilities would represent a major improvement in the Houthis ability to accurately hit targets at a much greater distance than previously demonstrated.

12:29 p.m. ET, September 16, 2019

"Responsibility lies with Iran" in Saudi oil facilities attack, US ambassador says

Kelly Craft, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, addressed the attacks on Saudi oil facilities during an unrelated Security Council meeting on Yemen, calling it "deeply troubling."

" I’d like to briefly address the deeply troubling attacks on Saudi oil facilities that occurred this past weekend," Craft said. "The United States condemns these attacks in the strongest possible terms standing firmly with our Saudi friends."

"We must all be clear eyed about this event — a direct assault on the world energy supply. Claims of responsibility have been made, but as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has clearly stated, there is no evidence that the attacks came from Yemen. Emerging information indicates that responsibility lies with Iran.”
11:21 a.m. ET, September 16, 2019

Where oil prices stand right now

As of 11 a.m. ET, US oil is trading at more than $60 a barrel in New York on Monday morning. That's about an 11% change.

What this means for gas this fall: Gasoline futures, meanwhile, were up more than 9%.

"This is a big deal," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service, which monitors the price of oil across the United States. "It is the biggest shock to the oil markets since [Hurricane] Katrina. And like Katrina it will likely haunt us for months, at least weeks."

Kloza said gasoline prices will likely "creep up" this fall, rather than drop steadily, as they historically have done.

Here's a look at the current oil disruption, and how it compares to others:

10:52 a.m. ET, September 16, 2019

Iranian weapons were used in Saudi oil attack, Saudi-led coalition says

Saturday’s attack on two vital oil facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia used Iranian weapons, Saudi-led coalition spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Turki al-Malki said in a news conference today.

“All practical evidence and indicators and the weapons used in both attacks show preliminarily that these are Iranian weapons," he said, without providing details on the weapons.

He also said the attack was not launched from Yemen. (Remember: Yemen's Houthi rebels on Saturday claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they conducted the strikes — using 10 drones — in retaliation for Saudi Arabia's military campaign against the group in Yemen.)

“All the preliminary evidence indicates that the terror attack was not launched from Yemeni territory as claimed by the Houthi militias. These militias are just a tool in the hands of the Iranian revolutionary guards used to implement the agenda and wishes of the revolutionary guards and the Iranian terrorist regime," the colonel said.

Col. al-Malki said Saudi Arabia is still working on identifying the exact launch location of this attack.

He added that “terror attack” was targeting world oil supplies and the global economy and not Saudi Arabia. The results of the ongoing investigation will be announced soon.

“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia will take all procedures in correspondence with international law,” he said.

What the US is saying: Earlier today, a US official familiar with the intelligence assessment told CNN the recent attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia likely involved cruise missiles and attack drones. The official said that the attacks did not originate from Iraq but would not say whether they originated from Iran or Yemen.

The US maintains an enhanced awareness of the airspace over Iraq given US military operations there as part of the counter-ISIS coalition. 

10:36 a.m. ET, September 16, 2019

Top Trump administration officials are meeting again about the Saudi oil attack

Top administration officials are meeting again this morning at the White House amid ongoing discussions about the attack on Saudi oil facilities and Iran’s role in the attack, a senior administration official said.

The National Security Council Principals Committee — a gathering of top Cabinet officials with foreign policy purview and the vice president — are meeting this morning at the White House to discuss options for a US response.

10:08 a.m. ET, September 16, 2019

Mike Pompeo expected to make calls to leaders, including UAE Crown Prince

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to make calls to the region on Monday, following Saturday’s attack on Saudi oil facilities, several diplomatic sources tell CNN.

Pompeo is expected to call the UAE Crown Prince today, per a diplomatic source.

10:01 a.m. ET, September 16, 2019

No change in US military posture in the Middle East

The US military posture in the Middle East has not changed following Saturday’s attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, according to a US defense official. 

But note: Typically following attacks in the region, US forces are put on alert as a standard practice.  

Also the US has an enhanced capability in the region following a plus-up of additional forces that occurred several months ago. 

9:57 a.m. ET, September 16, 2019

Stocks open lower after Saudi attacks

US stocks opened lower on Monday as investors worried about the economic impact of an attack on Saudi oil production. Disruptions to global oil supply sent crude prices soaring.

About oil prices: US oil is up 9.8% at more than $60 a barrel, while the international oil benchmark Brent is up 10.4% at $66.47 a barrel.

Energy stocks are among the strongest performers thanks to the rising oil prices. Chesapeake Energy jumped more than 15%. Exxon Mobil and Chevron were some of the strongest Dow stocks at the open.

Airlines were hit by the same dynamic, as fuel costs will likely rise. Delta, American Airlines and Untied all opened in the red.

Here's a look at how the attacks have disrupted oil:

9:36 a.m. ET, September 16, 2019

What Saudi Arabia's newspaper headlines tell us about the government's thinking

CNN's Nic Robertson is in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where officials have not yet "pointed a finger of blame" for the attacks, he said.

Robertson said the kingdom's newspaper headlines hold a clue into the government's thinking: The main headlines emphasize that the United Nations is worried about the escalation of tensions in the region, he said.

"It doesn't say that Saudi Arabia is angry about what's happened and is going to seek some kind of revenge," Robertson explained. "So I think they're tempering the message as they try to grapple with the complexity and sophistication and problems of the position they're in and what they face."

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