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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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Oil Prices Surge After Houthi Missile Attacks On Riyadh, Aramco Facilities

Houthi rebels in Yemen upped the ante on Wednesday, firing ballistic missiles over Riyadh, according to the Houthis, in retaliation for air raids by a Saudi-led coalition.

The Royal Saudi Air Defense intercepted at least one ballistic missile over Riyadh on Wednesday. Multiple blasts were heard, and plumes of smoke could be seen from the capital.

Yemen’s rebel Houthi movement launched earlier on Wednesday drone strikes on a Saudi Aramco facility and on an airport in Saudi Arabia, Houthi-owned Al-Masirah TV channel reported on Wednesday.

Aramco says that its plants are operating normally and safely, Reuters reports.

The Iran-aligned Yemeni rebels, who have been fighting a Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen since 2015, said that they targeted on Wednesday morning local time the Abha airport in Asir and Aramco in Jazan, according to the Houthis’ Al-Masirah outlet.

Saudi Aramco has a 400,000-bpd refinery in Jazan in the country’s southwest. The refinery is part of a project for a Jazan Economic City that will also contain a terminal.

According to the Houthis, the Abha airport has suspended flights following the drone air strike.

Houthi rebels have fired or claimed to have fired many missiles on Saudi Arabia since 2015, but they have caused little damage, and many of those missiles have been intercepted by the Saudi military.

More recently, the Houthi movement claimed to have fired a ballistic missile targeting Saudi Aramco in the southern Saudi province of Najran three weeks ago. Aramco responded to the reports by saying that all oil and gas facilities, plants, and refineries in Saudi Arabia were operating normally.

Earlier this month, a Saudi oil tanker was targeted by the Houthi movement off Yemen’s port of Hodeidah, sustaining minor damages and completing its course north.

Yemen lies along one of the main global oil chokepoints in the Red Sea. Millions of barrels of crude oil pass Yemeni shores from the Suez Canal en route to Europe every day.

According to weapons monitor Conflict Armament Research (CAR), quoted by Reuters, CAR has evidence that the Qasif-1 drone used in today’s strike was made in Iran, “in contrast to Houthi statements”. Saudi Arabia and the coalition it leads in Yemen accuse the Houthi movement of being sponsored and backed by Iran, while Tehran and the rebels deny those charges.

Oil prices are trading up on the news, with Brent topping $72 at 11:52am EST.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Neil Dusseault on April 11 2018 said:
    I hope you all can appreciate the absolute impeccable timing of this all:

    Literally, just after the well-known weekly release of the EIA report, which showed bearish data today (a surprise build in crude inventories, whereas analysts predicted a draw; also new highs in record production of crude oil here in the U.S.), this news brought WTI, Brent, and even Gold to fresh multi-year highs within minutes mind you.

    WTI and Brent have not been this high since 2014...and what convenient timing! Just this weekend I commented on an article which told about possible economic collapse in Saudi Arabia, then earlier this week it was reported that despite recent rumors of the Saudis calling for $70 oil (Brent is between $72 and $73/bbl now), they now insist on at least $80/bbl.

    Gold didn't even go this high the night of June 23rd, 2016 (during the vote on 'Brexit'), when it soared over $100/oz. Everything from Trump's tweets to this news all occurred with incredibly perfect timing, it's almost as thought it was scripted. And what now? These same markets are just kind of floating around, staying close to these high prices. Wow. Just wow.
  • John Brown on April 11 2018 said:
    Oil prices were already soaring. The Saudis folks want $80 a barrel oil for their Aramco IPO, and they are manipulating the price of oil upward despite the fact that there is a glut of oil sloshing around the word, millions of BPD of idle capacity sitting, and shale oil production in the USA soaring beyond anyone's expectations, and likely to continue with WTI now almost at $67. Bravo! OPEC/Russia and the rest of the oil industry and financial industry that supports it can still clearly manipulate the price of oil substantially higher. I loved the articles this week about how USA production was outstripping all forecast, but oh too bad we didn't have enough pipeline and transportation capacity to sell all of it. LOL! If they can pump it & WTI is over $60 they'll get it to market. It will be in interesting to see how the markets sustain the price as oil production soars in response to higher prices. The stories should get very interesting in the upcoming weeks and months.
  • WILLIAM Haller on April 11 2018 said:
    The Middle East cauldron has been simmering for quite a long while. With the Trump administration signaling a strong response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, its no surprise that Iranian backed surrogates "upped the ante". This attack, which by virtue of the reports cited here, seemed to inflict no damage to the Saudi's other than convey the message that there is a price to be exacted for any action taken in Syria.
  • Bill Simpson on April 11 2018 said:
    What a joke. Anybody with a brain knows how difficult it is to knock out oil facilities which are always made of heavy steel. As the Allies discovered during WW II in Germany, you need to hit the refineries with big bombs dropped from big planes.
    Back then, they had to send scores of planes to hope to hit the refinery. Now, precision guided bombs or cruise missiles can get the job done. Of course, hitting Saudi refineries with bombers or cruise missiles will mean that the large Saudi air force will take to the sky and punish wherever the missiles came from.
    I could be mistaken, but I think the Saudis have hundreds of fighter jets which could obliterate much of the Iranian oil infrastructure, like refineries, storage tanks, pumping stations, and oil loading docks in the Persian Gulf. Sinking tankers at the loading docks would put them out of commission for months, at least.
    Albert Speer, Hitler's war production minister, said that the day he got the news that the Allied bombers were targeting his synthetic fuel plants, he knew the War was lost.

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