Saudi Arabia’s Bold Statement About Oil

Photo by Hala AlGhanim on Unsplash

This is a strange remark.

On Monday (March 21), Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, said it wouldn’t be “any responsibility” for a global oil supplies shortage. The statement comes after the kingdom’s oil production was affected by a fierce barrage of attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

These latest remarks represent a departure from the Middle Eastern country’s tentative comments, as Saudi officials remain aware their comments can result in drastic swings in the price of oil and rattle the global markets.

The statement also comes as the kingdom keeps in step with OPEC and other oil-producing countries’ decision to limit increases in oil production, causing prices to rise significantly following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Saudi Press Agency, a state-run news agency, quoted the Foreign Ministry, saying that “the international community must assume its responsibility to maintain energy supplies” to “stand against the Houthis.”

The statement also revealed that repeated attacks by the Houthi would affect “the kingdom’s production capacity and its ability to meet its obligations,” which it warned could threaten the “security and stability of energy supplies to global markets.”

Also, on Monday, Brent Crude oil, the international benchmark for oil prices, traded at over $112 a barrel.

According to statements by Saudi Energy Minister, Yemen’s rebels began their attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil and natural gas production on Sunday at the Yanbu petrochemicals complex on the Red Sea coast, which led to a temporary drop in oil output.

Sunday’s attacks underscore Saudi defense vulnerabilities and are reminiscent of the September 2019 attacks on two of the country’s oil installations that wiped out half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production.

Responding to the attacks, the White House condemned the strikes by the rebels and pledged its support of Saudi Arabia’s defense.

Sunday evening, a senior administration official confirmed that the U.S. had transferred Patriot antimissile interceptors as part of its pledge to help Saudi Arabia defend against drone and missile attacks.