Saudi attacks send oil prices soaring

24 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
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."

Watch more:

9:24 a.m. ET, September 16, 2019

Trump implies Iran may be responsible for Saudi Arabia attack

President Trump implied that Iran may have been involved in the strike on a Saudi Arabian oil facility — but he stopped short of directly blaming the country on Twitter.

Remember: Iran has denied it was involved in the attack. Yemen's Houthi rebels said they're responsible for the attacks, but US officials say the more likely culprit is either Iran or Iraq.

9:20 a.m. ET, September 16, 2019

What you need to know about the weekend attacks

Coordinated strikes on key Saudi Arabian oil facilities this weekend knocked out half of the country's oil capacity.

Here's what we know so far:

  • The damage: The attacks disrupted about half of the kingdom's oil capacity — which is more than 5 million barrels a day. That's about 5% of the world's daily global oil supply, so oil prices shot up.
  • The attackers: Yemen's Houthi rebels said they're responsible for the attacks, but US officials say the more likely culprit is either Iran or Iraq.
  • How the US is responding: President Trump said the US is "locked and loaded depending on verification" for a possible response. However the White House this morning said that may not refer to military action.
  • What we're watching today: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is expected to speak later this morning. A spokesperson for Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen will also hold a media briefing.
9:17 a.m. ET, September 16, 2019

Drones and cruise missiles were used in Saudi attack

The attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia likely involved cruise missiles and attack drones, a US official familiar with the intelligence assessment tells CNN.

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 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 Houthi rebels 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.