Business World

Friday 18 October 2019

Oil supply fears: Saudis say tankers attacked as Iranian tensions rise

Security: the incident took place off the UAE coast near the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial route for oil shipments. Photo: AP
Security: the incident took place off the UAE coast near the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial route for oil shipments. Photo: AP

Anthony DiPaola and Abbas Al Lawati

Saudi Arabia has said two of its oil tankers were attacked while sailing toward the Persian Gulf, adding to regional tensions as the US increases pressure on Iran. Crude rose as much as 2pc.

The tankers were damaged in "a sabotage attack" off the United Arab Emirates coast on Sunday, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

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The vessels were approaching the Strait of Hormuz, the world's most important chokepoint for oil shipments.

The UAE foreign ministry reported an attack on four commercial ships, two registered in Saudi Arabia, one in the UAE and the other in Norway.

No one has claimed responsibility.

The US deployed an aircraft carrier, bombers and defence missiles to the region last week amid worsening friction with Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival.

UAE stock markets posted their steepest decline in over three years.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the incident aims "to undermine the freedom of maritime navigation, and the security of oil supplies".

He urged the international community to ensure the security of oil tankers.

Oil prices rose more than $1 a barrel on the news, but slipped later on wider trade woes. Antagonism between the US and Iran intensified after US President Donald Trump ended exceptions to US sanctions on Iranian oil sales. Iran has threatened to block oil shipments through the strait if the US halts Iranian energy exports.

Bloomberg

Irish Independent

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