RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – US President Donald Trump says America is “locked and loaded” after Saturday’s attack on Saudi Arabia’s main oil facility. He says he’s waiting to hear from the Saudis on how to proceed.
The attack on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil processing facility not far from Riyadh represents a major escalation in the battle between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.
The strike cut the Saudi’s daily oil output by nearly six million barrels per day.
“That's about 60 percent of the Saudi production. And when you talk about the global production that's almost more than 5 percent of the global oil production,” said Ranjith Raja, senior analyst of Refinitiv Oil Research.
The impact is being felt worldwide. The price of oil spiked sharply- gaining 10 percent or more - and president trump said he will release oil from the strategic petroleum reserve if necessary to assure enough oil for the marketplace.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Saudis plan to get one-third of their oil output back online by Monday, the entire plant may take weeks to get back to full production.
Saudi news outlets blamed the Houthis, the Iranian backed proxy that’s been fighting a war with Saudi Arabia since 2015. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lays the direct blame on Iran.
CNBC reported Monday that a Saudi-led military coalition said the attack was carried out using Iranian weapons and the attack did not originate from Yemen.
Iran’s President Rouhani rejected that claim and instead blamed Israel and the United States for the tension in the region. For now, the region sits on a powder keg that some believe has the potential to spiral into a regional war.
How the US and Saudi Arabia respond will go a long way to determine the short and long term future of the Middle East.