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Saudis Join US-led Maritime Security Coalition After Attacks

Saudi Arabia has decided to join the U.S.-led maritime security coalition that aims to ensure freedom of navigation and safe passage through the Persian Gulf, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday, days after attacks on vital oil infrastructure in the Kingdom.

On Saturday, the Abqaiq facility and the Khurais oil field in Saudi Arabia were hit by attacks, which resulted in the temporary suspension of 5.7 million bpd of Saudi Arabia’s crude oil production, or around 5 percent of global daily oil supply.

Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that the return to normal production would likely take less than feared, sparking a massive oil price drop of 6 percent late on Tuesday morning, just a day after prices had surged the most in one day on record.

While the Saudis scramble to restore oil supply as quickly as possible and continue to ensure buyers that they would get all the volumes they had asked for, the Kingdom has decided to be officially part of the International Maritime Security Construct. The coalition was initiated by the United States following a string of incidents in the Persian Gulf and its vital chokepoint the Strait of Hormuz earlier this summer. The UK, Australia, and Bahrain have joined the coalition, before Saudi Arabia said today it would also participate.

“The Kingdom’s decision to participate is based on its declared support for regional and international efforts to deter threats to maritime safety,” the Saudi Press Agency said, quoting an official at the Saudi Ministry of Defense.

“The Kingdom will work with its allies to ensure the security of energy routes and the continued flow of supplies to the global economy, and to maintain international peace and security,” Saudi Arabia says.

The UK joined the U.S. in protecting tankers in the Gulf after the UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero was seized by Iran. Australia said last month it was joining the coalition with modest and time limited contribution, because it’s in Australia’s interest to protect freedom of navigation in international waters.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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