Gas prices expected to rise following attack on Saudi oil facility

PM Imran offers full support to Saudi Arabia after attack on oil facilities

PM Imran offers full support to Saudi Arabia after attack on oil facilities

"Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply".

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief Jens Stoltenberg told AFP in Baghdad on Monday that he was "extremely concerned" about escalating tensions following the attacks, and accused Iran of "destabilising" the region.

"We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran's attacks. That Europe and the U.S. are divided on Iran, that Trump is conflict-averse, and the Iranians need to keep the issue on the boil", Bronk told Al Jazeera. But by Monday afternoon he seemed intent on consultations with allies. In this way the USA may become the main beneficiary of Saudi oil troubles. "We have to sit down with the Saudis and work something out", he said.

Saudi Arabia is pumping out the same crude response as the Trump administration.

But hours before Trump's tweet, senior U.S. officials said satellite imagery and other intelligence showed the strike was inconsistent with one launched from Yemen. The U.S. already has the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier battle group in the area, as well as fighter jets, bombers, reconnaissance aircraft and air defences.

"I think there's more fear driving right now than anything", Richard Bohnen said. "The policy of "maximum pressure" against the Iranian nation is worthless and all Islamic Republic of Iran officials unanimously believe there will be no negotiations with the United States at any level", he said, quoted on his official website.

Iran's supreme leader on Tuesday ruled out negotiations with the U.S. "at any level", as tensions mounted between the arch-foes after Washington blamed Tehran for attacks on Saudi oil installations.

"Pondering who is to blame in the absence of a conclusive investigation I think is in itself not very responsible".

The attack, over the weekend, disrupted over 50% of the production facility.

Tehran rejected the claim but Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition was bogged down in a five-year war, claimed Saturday's strikes on two plants owned by Aramco. A Saudi military alleged "Iranian weapons" had been used.

The Saudis invited United Nations and other global experts to help investigate, suggesting there was no rush to retaliate. "You don't want to start a war with Iran that you don't have an idea how you're going to end".

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Brent crude was down 36 cents, or 0.5 per cent, at $68.66 a barrel at 9:30 GMT, and West Texas Intermediate was down 57 cents, or 0.9pc, at $62.33 a barrel.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the US was preparing a response. In a series of tweets after meeting with Trump and other senior national security officials, Esper said the administration was working with partner nations "to address this unprecedented attack and defend the worldwide rules-based order that is being undermined by Iran".

A day after the attacks, the White House had said Trump could meet his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in NY next week.

Speaking to reporters in an airplane on their way back to Moscow from Ankara on Monday evening, Novak said he did not have time to talk to Saudi energy minister as Novak was busy at talks between leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran held on Monday.

Faced with a possible disruption to the U.S. energy supply, Trump said Sunday that he has authorized the release of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve if necessary "in a to-be-determined amount. sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied". Iran has denied any involvement in the attack.

Relations between the U.S. and Iran have deteriorated since Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord a year ago and reimposed sanctions on its oil exports.

Iran was the staging ground for the weekend attacks on the massive Saudi Arabia oil field, according to USA intelligence that was shared with the kingdom, a report said. Crude oil prices were expected rise up to 20 percent.

USA output may be booming, but the country's many shale drillers hold little to no output in reserve. Markets in Asia finished mixed.

US officials say they believe that the attacks came from the opposite direction, possibly from Iran itself rather than Yemen, and may have involved cruise missiles.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi dismissed Washington's accusations, calling them "blind and futile".

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