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Geopolitical Risks Loom Large Over Oil Markets

Geopolitical Risks Loom Large Over Oil Markets

Geopolitical risks are looming large…

Houthis Launch Attack On Saudi Arabia

The Houthi rebels in Yemen launched a missile attack on Saudi Arabia early this morning but the missiles were intercepted by the Saudi defense system, Reuters reported, citing a Saudi state news agency.

The rebel group has not yet claimed responsibility for the attack but the Saudi side said they missiles were fired from the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and targeted cities and civilians.

Last September, the Iran-backed Houthis claimed responsibility for the missiles and drone attack on a Saudi oil field and a processing plant that temporarily removed as many as 5.7 million bpd from the Kingdom’s oil production capacity and caused a spike in prices.

The Saudis and the U.S., however, blamed the attack on Iran itself, claiming evidence showed the missiles had been fired from the north rather than the south, where Yemen is.

A confidential report from the UN Security Council Yemen sanctions committee also denied it was the Houthis that launched the September attacks, with the authors saying that “despite their claims to the contrary, the Houthi forces did not launch the attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais on 14 September 2019.”

Last month, the Houthis claimed responsibility for another attack as well, this time on Aramco facilities in the city of Jizan on the Red Sea coast, just north of the border with Yemen.

The alleged Houthi attack came as retaliation for “escalating air strikes,” on Yemen by the Saudi coalition. The Saudi side, however, never confirmed or denied the attack.

The Yemeni war, which began in 2015, has led to the worst humanitarian crisis in the world at the moment, and there is no end in sight, with the fight between the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition recently intensifying around the key port city of Hodeida.

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Even so, Yemen is producing some oil: as of late January, the rate was 55,000 bpd, S&P Global Platts reported, a fraction of what the country used to produce before the war broke out but still a 40-percent increase from early 2019.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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