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Updated 17:40 23/10/19

Gulf conflict fears increase following attack on Saudi oil facilities

By Michael Pinson, News Editor

16 Sep 2019

Fears of possible military conflict in the Gulf grew this weekend, following a number of drone attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities on Saturday.

Despite denying responsibility for the attack, several countries have come forward to blame Iran, reigniting the simmering tensions from June’s oil tanker attacks.

Saturday’s incident saw a number of Aramco oil facilities attacked, with reports suggesting that the attack has removed 5% of the world’s total oil supply. Unsurprisingly, this caused a spike in oil prices as trading opened this morning, reaching $71.95 per barrel at one point.

Economists fear that any sustained damage to oil production could see prices increase significantly, and would likely have a knock-on impact on prices/production in other industries as well.

The price settled slightly lower, following US President Donald Trump’s decision to release US oil reserves to try and diminish the impact of the attack, but prices are still set for a record day.
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Iran quickly distanced themselves from the attack, which were claimed by Houthi rebels in Yemen. US officials however have suggested satellite images show that the attacks came from a north-western direction, with Iran being a possible launch site, not south-west as would be expected if the attacks came from Yemen as claimed. The Saudi coalition has also reported this afternoon that they believe the attacks did not come from Yemen, and the weapons used were Iranian.

Never one to shy from potential hostilities, President Trump also stated that the US was ‘locked and loaded’ once they had received verification on the source of the attack. The President’s mind seems made up however, tweeting earlier today that:

‘Remember when Iran shot down a drone, saying knowingly that it was in their “airspace” when, in fact, it was nowhere close. They stuck strongly to that story knowing that it was a very big lie. Now they say that they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We’ll see?’

With potential conflict on the rise once more, stock markets reacted poorly. The Dow Jones is trading 0.47% down at the time of writing. Gold conversely is up 1.39% today, gaining £20 in less than two hours overnight.

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