DUBAI/WASHINGTON – Iran's supreme leader on Tuesday ruled out talks with Washington after President Donald Trump blamed Tehran for an attack on Saudi oil facilities that knocked out half the kingdom's output. Trump said on Monday that it looked like Iran was behind the weekend strike at the heart of the Saudi oil industry, which cut 5 percent of global production, but stressed he did not want to go to war. Iran denied it was to blame. "Iranian officials, at any level, will never talk to American officials … this is part of their policy to put pressure on Iran," Iranian state TV quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying. He said talks could only take place if the United States returned to a nuclear accord between Iran and the West that Trump abandoned last year.
Tehran says it is now ready now to fight a full-fledged war with the U.S.; Benjamin Hall reports from Jerusalem. It has been more than three days since Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure was crippled and, as the investigation continues, fingers are pointing toward Iran as not only the perpetrator, but also the launch territory. U.S. officials told Fox News on Tuesday that Iranian cruise missiles and drones were both used in the attack on the two Saudi Arabian oil facilities, and that they were fired from inside southwest Iran. The Saudi Arabian oil facilities attacked from Iran are located across the Persian Gulf, an area where Saudi forces had largely not protected with air defense systems, the official said. Not all the Iran weapons hit their target in Saudi Arabia.
NEW YORK/BANGKOK/HONG KONG – The loss of 5 percent of world crude oil output from an attack on Saudi Arabia's largest oil processing plant pushed crude prices sharply higher on Monday. U.S. crude oil was trading 9 percent higher while Brent crude added more than 9.4 percent. The attack on the Saudi Aramco facility halted output of more than half of Saudi Arabia's daily exports. That's especially worrying for oil thirsty Asia: China, Japan, South Korea and India are major customers for Saudi oil. "The attacks this time posed a serious threat to key international energy infrastructure, and we express concern that they undermine the energy security of the entire world and stability in the region," South Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
HOUSTON – Saturday's attacks on key Saudi Arabia processing plants will test the world's ability to handle a supply crisis as it faces the temporary loss of more than 5 percent of global supply from the world's biggest crude exporter. The Iranian-backed Houthis group in Yemen claimed responsibility for attacks that shut two plants at the Abqaiq facility, the heart of the Saudi oil industry, which will cut the kingdom's production by about 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) -- more than half of the kingdom's output, according to a statement from state-run Saudi Aramco. Crude prices could spike by several dollars per barrel when markets open Sunday night as a prolonged outage could prompt the United States and other countries to release crude from their strategic petroleum reserves to boost commercial stocks globally. The U.S. Energy Department said Saturday it is ready to release oil from its strategic reserve if needed. "Oil prices will jump on this attack, and if the disruption to Saudi production is prolonged, an SPR release … seems likely and sensible," said Jason Bordoff, founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University in New York.
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – The weekend drone attack on one of the world's largest crude oil processing plants that dramatically cut into global oil supplies is the most visible sign yet of how Aramco's stability and security is directly linked to that of its owner -- the Saudi government and its ruling family. The strikes, which U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed on Iran despite staunch denials by Tehran, led to suspension of more than 5 percent of the world's daily crude oil production, bringing into focus just how vulnerable the company is to Saudi Arabia's conflicts outside the country's borders, particularly with regional rival Iran. That matters greatly because Aramco produces and exports Saudi Arabia's more than 9.5 million barrels of oil per day to consumers around the world, primarily in Asia. It also comes as the state-owned company heads toward a partial public sale. To prepare for an initial public offering, the company has recently taken steps to distance itself from the Saudi government, which is controlled by the Al Saud ruling family.