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Saudi Arabia to Hold News Conference 'Proving' Iran Role in Attacks

CommoditiesSep 18, 2019 08:19AM ET
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Investing.com - The threat of a sustained outage in Saudi oil supplies to the world may have receded, but the risk of a broader conflict growing out of last weekend’s attacks on its oil facilities may be about to get bigger.

The Saudi Arabian defense ministry is to hold a press conference later Wednesday detailing the extent of Iranian involvement in the attacks, Bloomberg reported a ministry spokesman as saying Wednesday.

President Donald Trump had warned over the weekend that the U.S. was “locked and loaded” as regards a possible retaliatory strike against Iran. However, Saudi Arabia had initially held off confirming U.S. analysis arguing that Iran was behind the strike, rather than the Houthi rebels in Yemen who have repeatedly claimed responsibility for it.

The press conference is expected to take place at 5:30 PM in Jeddah, or 10 AM to 10:30 AM Eastern Time, according to Bloomerg’s Salma Elwardany.

The press conference will follow a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which was confirmed earlier Wednesday by the U.S. mission to the United Arab Emirates.

Earlier Wednesday, Iran had reportedly sent a written diplomatic note to the U.S. formally disclaiming any involvement in the attacks, which took over half of Saudi Arabia’s active production capacity offline and caused the biggest-ever one-day spike in crude oil futures.

Iran “reiterated that it was not behind attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities and it has warned that any move by America against Iran will get immediate reaction," according to the semi-official news agency ISNA.

On Tuesday, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman had said that the kingdom would restore its oil output to pre-attack levels by the end of the month, although restoring its full production capacity would take until November.

Oil prices retreated on the news in early trading Wednesday. By 8:15 AM ET, WTI futures were trading at $58.70 a barrel, down 0.8% from late Thursday and more than $4 a barrel below the high they hit on Monday. The international Brent blend was down 0.6% at $64.17 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia to Hold News Conference 'Proving' Iran Role in Attacks
 

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