US says Iran is behind attacks on Saudi oil plants

16 September 2019, 09:53

Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia after the attack
Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia after the attack. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The global price of oil has risen after supplies were cut following an attack on Saudi oil facilities.

The plants which were hit in apparent drone and missile strikes launched by Iran produce nearly six per cent of the world’s oil supply.

President Trump has blamed Iran for the strikes and says the US is "locked and loaded" for a potential response.

The US today issued satellite images in support of its claim that Iran was behind Saturday’s attacks on the oil processing plant at Abqaiq.

Donald Trump says he has approved the release of US strategic petroleum reserves "if needed" to stabilise energy markets after an attack on Saudi Arabian energy facilities.

The US president tweeted that the attacks could have an impact on oil prices and the final amount of the release, if any, would be "sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied".

The attacks caused global oil prices to surge
The attacks caused global oil prices to surge. Picture: PA

The US reserve of hundreds of millions of barrels of crude oil has only been tapped three times, most recently in 2011 amid unrest in Libya.

Officials quotes by the New York Times said a mix of cruise missiles and drones might have been used in the attack, adding that not all hit their targets at the Abqaiq and Khurais oilfield.

Brent crude oil jumped ten per cent to $66.28 a barrel, however prices eased slightly after Mr Trump authorised the release of US reserves.

The President tweeted on Sunday night: ‘Saudi Arabia’ oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!' 

A senior Trump administration official told ABC News Iran launched close to a dozen cruise missiles and more than 20 drones from its territory during the attack on Saturday.