President Trump made it very clear that the U.S. is ready to take action against the attackers of a key Saudi oil facility. He said on Sunday that U.S. investigators had “reason to believe” they knew who launched crippling attacks against a key Saudi oil facility and assured that America was “locked and loaded depending on verification.”
“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!” the president tweeted.
While Trump did not mention any specific names for the drone attacks, U.S. investigators previously have pointed the finger at Iran.
In order to keep markets well-supplied and prevent prices from skyrocketing following the attack, the President authorized the use of emergency oil reserves in Texas and other states.
“Based on the attack on Saudi Arabia, which may have an impact on oil prices, I have authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if needed, in a to-be-determined amount sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied. I have also informed all appropriate agencies to expedite approvals of the oil pipelines currently in the permitting process in Texas and various
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve, located in Texas and Louisiana, is the largest government-owned stockpile of emergency crude oil in the world, according to the Department of Energy, which manages the supply.
The emergency reserve was created in the mid-1970s amid rising gasoline prices sparked by the Arab oil embargo. Per U.S. law, presidents may authorize the use of the reserves if a major disruption threatens the economy.
The federally owned petroleum reserve of hundreds of millions of barrels of crude oil has been tapped only three times, most recently in 2011 amid unrest in Libya.
The drone attacks on Saudi oil sites haulted 5.7 million barrels of crude oil production, responsible for over 5 percent of the world’s daily supply.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the drone assault, but the U.S. has accused Iran of launching the assault. Tehran has denied any involvement, calling the accusations “maximum lies.”
“This president and his national security team, Secretary (of State Mike) Pompeo – our nation’s chief diplomat – keep many options on the table, particularly when it comes to retaliating against malign behavior, and protecting American interests and Americans and our American economy,” said Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, on “Fox News Sunday.”
The attack, meanwhile, has further escalated tensions in the Middle East, where hostilities between Iran and the U.S. have been at an all-time thanks to a powerful Iranian nuclear program that was propped up by former President Obama.
President Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from an Obama-era nuclear deal that sought to lift sanctions and allow Iran to further expand the program with funding from the U.S.
President Trump on Sunday also derided “Fake News” for reporting that he was willing to meet with Iran under “No Conditions.” While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin recently said Trump and Rouhani could meet without preconditions, Trump himself said last Monday only that a meeting “could happen. It could happen. No problem with me.”
Saturday’s attack made no immediate impact on global oil prices since as markets were closed for the weekend, but early Monday morning, prices have already begun soaring.