Trump: US 'Locked and Loaded' After Hit on Saudi Oil Facility

Oil prices surge after Saudi facilities hit
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2019 6:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump didn't mention Iran in a tweet Sunday about Saturday's attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia—but he strongly suggested possible military action against the perpetrators. "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!" Trump said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the attack, accusing the country of "an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply," the Guardian reports. More:

  • Photos "implicate Iran." The attack was claimed by Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen, but US officials say there is evidence pointing to Iran as the culprit, the New York Times reports. Officials have released satellite photos showing the facilities were attacked from the north or northwest—the direction of Iran, not Yemen. Officials also say the attacks apparently involved a combination of drones and cruise missiles, which would have been beyond the rebels' capabilities.
  • Oil released. In another tweet, Trump said he had authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to counter the attack's effect on oil prices. He also said he had told agencies to "expedite approvals of the oil pipelines currently in the permitting process in Texas and various other States."

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  • Massive spike in oil prices. Energy prices soared after the attack halted production of 5.7 million barrels of oil a day. Futures of Brent crude, the international benchmark, soared 20% in early trading Monday, the biggest spike in dollar terms on record and the biggest percentage rise since the lead-up to the 1991 Gulf War, Bloomberg reports. They later pulled back to around a 10% rise, which still marks the biggest increase in years.
  • Senators warn against military action. After Trump's "locked and loaded" tweet, worried lawmakers said the US should not go to war to protect Saudi oil, Newsweek reports. "No matter where this latest drone strike was launched from, there is no short or long term upside to the US military getting more deeply involved in the growing regional contest between the Saudis and Iranians," tweeted Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy.
  • "All options on the table." Trump's tweets came after a National Security meeting that included Pompeo, Mike Pence, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Sources tell the AP that all options were "on the table," including military action, but no final decision was made.
  • The facilities that were hit. The Financial Times looks at the two Aramco facilities that were hit—the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field—and the potential effects of the strikes on the world's oil supply. The FT notes that Aramco has three strategic storage facilities around the world.
(Iran has denied involvement in the attack, calling the US stance "maximum lies.")

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