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Saudi Oil Tankers Reportedly Attacked; Pompeo Talks Oil Prices

Jayson Derrick

Saudi Arabia's energy minister said Monday that two of its tankers came under attack over the weekend.

What Happened

At least four separate oil vessels, two of which belong to Saudi Arabia, came under attack in the Gulf of Oman near the United Arab Emirates' eastern coast, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Saudi vessels experienced "significant damage to the structures" in what the country's energy minister Khalid al-Falih said was a case of sabotage.

Exactly what happened to the tankers is not yet known.

An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman called the attacks "dreadful" and said the government is planning an investigation, WSJ reported, citing the semiofficial Iranian news agency ISNA.

For the time being, no one is publicly attributing any blame to the attack on Iran's government.

An American official and a senior Saudi official said the U.S. government isn't sure who was behind the attacks, and one of the sources said it would be "very clumsy" for Iran to order the attacks, according to WSJ. 

The attack occurred near the Persian Gulf in the Strait of Hormuz, which could be a geopolitical battleground if tensions between U.S. and Iran expand.

WTI crude was trading down 0.45 percent at $61.38 at the time of publication Monday. 

Pompeo: No 'Chaos' In Oil Markets

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a CNBC interview Saturday that "simple math" confirms the global supply of crude has not seen any impact from the country's withdrawal from the "terrible" Iran nuclear deal.

When the U.S. confirmed its withdrawal from the nuclear deal many experts at the time said oil prices would no only rise but would "spike" and create "chaos."

Instead, oil prices today are "lower than they were the day that we withdrew" from the agreement, the former CIA chief said in the interview. Part of the absence of volatility in the oil market could be attributed to "American economic excellence, freedom [and] deregulation" that created "enormous capacity" for crude oil production in the U.S.

"That combination of good work around the world and work inside the United States has continued to make sure that crude oil markets are adequately supplied," Pompeo said. "I'm convinced that they will continue to be."

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Photo by Dustin Blitchok. 

 

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