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Ross McCracken

Ross McCracken

Ross is an energy analyst, writer and consultant who was previously the Managing Editor of Platts Energy Economist

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Provocation And Response: A Gulf War In The Making?

Drone strikes September 14 on Saudi Arabian oil facilities have disrupted 5.7 million b/d of the country’s crude oil and gas production, representing more than 5% of global oil supplies, causing a huge jump in oil prices. The strikes caused fires at Abqaiq and Khurais in the east of the country.

The Abqaiq oil complex is the starting point of the East West Petroline, the Abqaiq IPSA natural gas line, which has been converted to crude oil transport, and the Abqaiq-Yanbu Natural Gas Condensate pipeline. In addition to serving east-west oil transport, which bypasses the Strait of Hormuz, Abqaiq is Saudi Arabia’s main crude processing and desulphurization facility and therefore crucial to maintaining crude flows and quality. Khurais is a complex of oil fields with a capacity of 1.5 million b/d. How long it will take to repair the damage is still being assessed.

Who is to blame?

Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attacks, which would be by far their most successful attempt to disrupt Saudi oil infrastructure. They have previously attacked remote Petroline pumping stations, airports and populated areas in western Saudi Arabia.

Houthi drone strikes earlier in the year appeared coordinated with attacks on tankers off the UAE port of Fujairah, signaling Iran and its allies’ capacity to impact Gulf oil production beyond the threat to tanker traffic through the Strait of Hormuz.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed…




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