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Oil loading 'resumes in Saudi Aramco plant' after drone strikes

By Caoimhe Toman

Date: Monday 16 Sep 2019

Oil loading 'resumes in Saudi Aramco plant' after drone strikes

(Sharecast News) - Saudi Aramco has reportedly resumed vessel loading at one of its plants in Saudi Arabia hit by a drone attack over the weekend.
The state company's Oil Supply Planning and Scheduling (OSPAS) department said loading operations were in progress, Reuters reported citing unnamed sources.

"We have a few cargoes to load ... We are concerned about the impact (of the attack), but so far we hear from port agents that it has been OK," a source said.

Two sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg on Monday that the company's full return to normal oil production volumes could take months.

Oil prices soared almost 20% on Monday as a result of the attacks on the world's biggest processing plant which knocked out more than 5% of the world's supply. Brent crude jumped to $71.95 a barrel at one point.

Monex Europe chief analyst Ranko Berich said the initial shock to prices was "immense".

"Spot prices have surged by amounts unprecedented since the 1990 Iraq invasion of Kuwait, while Brent crude oil futures recorded their largest intraday surge since trading began in 1988, although since then the initial knee jerk surge has been pared back."

"Oil price shocks have often preceded global economic slowdowns, and given the current worsening in the global economic outlook, these developments look ominous. Although reserve releases will dull the current supply shock and Saudi production will return to normal before long, the attacks may have significant ongoing consequences," he added.

The attacks also raised geopolitical concerns as US President Donald Trump said the US was "locked and loaded" and ready to respond to the drone attacks.

He added the US had "reason to believe we know the culprit" of the strikes. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran, suggesting tensions between both countries might be increasing.

Iran dismissed the US accusation, with the country's Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif accusing Pompeo of "max deceit".

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi rebel group claimed responsibility for the attack, but Pompeo said there was no evidence the drones were launched in Yemen and accused Iran of "an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply".

(Writing by Caoimhe Toman and Frank Prenesti; Editing by Michele Maatouk)

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