Can Saudi Arabia ship more from its Red Sea ports?

Futures for Brent crude, the worldwide oil benchmark, hit $74.83 per barrel before falling back in later day trading to $73.99, up 6 cents.

There are concerns of oil supplies in the U.S. after Bloomberg reported that futures advanced 1.1 percent in NY.

This attack underscores the risk of an escalation in tensions in the region. In response, Iran has threatened to shut down the far more critical Strait of Hormuz, on the other side of the Arabian Peninsula, through which 18 million barrels of oil pass per day.

The chairman of the Kuwait Oil Tanker Company said the country was considering whether to follow suit.


Responding to USA threats to bring Iran's oil exports to a halt, Rouhani warned the United States on July 22 "not to play with the lion's tail", saying the US would regret the consequences including "the closure of many straits".

Al-Zayani called on the UN Security Council to deter the Houthi group and stop its flagrant violation of global laws, jeopardizing the freedom of navigation in Bab El-Mandab Strait and the Red Sea and threatening the interests of the countries overlooking it as well as the entire world.

'(US President Donald) Trump should know that we are nation of martyrdom and that we await him'.

Global oil prices rose slightly after the incident, although industry experts said the increase was unlikely to last.

Traders said the suspension order was only for Saudi-owned vessels, so state-owned Saudi Aramco could still charter foreign ships to move its crude.

Saudi Arabia also has a pipeline route to the city of Yanbu on the Red Sea keeping Europe and North America well supplied - the 5-million-bpd Petroline.

Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said on Friday the market remained volatile and responded to verbal interventions, adding that the market had priced in risks related to United States sanctions against Iran.

Saudi state media reported shortly after Falih's announcement that the kingdom's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman chaired a meeting of the Political and Security Affairs Council but did not mention what topics were discussed.


The Houthi rebels are widely believed to be backed by Iran, Saudi Arabia's primary competitor for regional influence.

The group and Tehran deny the accusations.

Mortar bombs, armored personnel carriers, artillery, ammunition, electronic attack systems and software are also amongst a range of other controlled products supplied to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, according to the report.

"This systematic attack is a terrorist act which shows the nature and aggression of the Houthis".

Although Saudi Arabia exports most of its crude through the Strait of Hormuz, the militia attack is significant because it adds to the risks of using this key artery.

One of the coalition's main justifications for intervening in Yemen's war in 2015 was to protect shipping routes such as the Red Sea.

The Bab al-Mandeb Strait between Yemen and Djibouti is just 20km wide, making shipping vulnerable to attack from the Houthi's in war-torn Yemen.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the Houthis attacked two Saudi oil tankers in the Red Sea on Wednesday, one of which sustained minimal damage.


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