Aramco Delays Some Oil Loadings For PetroChina After Attacks

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq Saudi Arabia

Smoke is seen following a fire at an Aramco factory in Abqaiq Saudi Arabia

Three diplomats said Emmanuel Bonne, a Middle East expert who has steered Macron's diplomacy, met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Jeddah on Monday.

Over the weekend, there were attacks on the Saudi Arabian oil industry.

Imran Khan reiterated Pakistan's full support and solidarity with the brotherly country against any threat to its security and territorial integrity.

Washington has blamed Tehran, and President Donald Trump has said that the United States is ready to help Saudi Arabia, but will wait for a "definitive" determination on who was responsible.

The kingdom's crude oil production was cut by more than half at the weekend by strikes on its critical Abqaiq oil processing facility and a major oilfield, sending shockwaves through global markets and prices up by as much as 20 per cent on Monday.

In addition to the immediate loss of supply, the attack raised the specter of USA retaliation against Iran, which could further inflame oil prices.

Tensions between Iran and the United States and its allies have threatened to boil over since May a year ago when Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal and began reimposing sanctions in its campaign of "maximum pressure".

On Monday, the Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack and warned the foreign companies and workers against coming close to the company's units which might "be targeted again".

Worldwide oil companies, fellow members of the OPEC oil cartel and global energy policymakers had heard no updates on the impact of the weekend attack from the Saudis for 48 hours, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

United States media reported on Monday that American officials had shared intelligence with Riyadh indicating that Iran was the staging ground for the attacks, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that USA officials had determined that "Iran launched more than 20 drones and at least a dozen missiles".

The images from Saturday's attack, however, show precise, deeply penetrating hits on structures at the oil processing facility. Saudi Arabia, which has supported tougher USA sanctions on Iran, said an initial investigation showed the strikes were carried out with Iranian weapons. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday squashed the idea of any Trump-Rouhani talks.

"The President will always consider his options", Conway said when asked if Trump would still sit down with Rouhani under current circumstances.

The U.S. alleges the pattern of destruction suggested Saturday's attack did not come from neighbouring Yemen, as claimed by the Houthis there.

One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said the U.S. was considering dispatching additional military resources to the Gulf but that no decisions had been made.

According to the California Energy Commission, oil from Saudi Arabia accounted for 37 percent of California's foreign oil imports in 2018, the most of any foreign country.

He said talks could only take place if the United States returned to a nuclear accord between Iran and the West that Trump abandoned past year.

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