Oil Prices Jump After Iranian Oil Tanker Attacked 60 Miles Off Saudi Coast

Topline: An Iranian oil tanker was struck by two missiles 60 miles off the coast of Saudi Arabia on Friday, the National Iranian Oil Company, which owns the vessel, was reported by state media as saying. Oil prices jumped 2%.

  • The vessel, which was reportedly traveling through the Red Sea, caught fire following the explosions and leaked oil into the sea off the coast of Jeddah. The leak has now been stopped, while the tanker’s crew are said to be safe and sound, according to local Nour news agency, Reuters reported.
  • The NITC said the strikes, which happened at 5 a.m. and 5:50 a.m. local time, were “probably caused by missile strikes.” Local news agency ISNA cited experts who believe the event was a “terrorist attack.”
  • The Suezmax vessel was identified by the National Iranian Oil Company as the Sabiti.
  • Friday’s explosion will likely fuel tensions in the Gulf, which have been running high since Saudi Arabia accused Iran of being responsible for a major attack on a key oil production facility.
  • Technical experts from the company are investigating the cause of the explosions, according to ISNA.

Key background: The explosion comes less than a month after two major Saudi oil plants were struck on September 14, knocking offline 5% of global oil supply. Production has since been restored. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for the attack, despite Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are battling a Saudi-led coalition in the country, claiming responsibility. Iran denied it was behind the September strikes.

What to watch for: Responses from Saudi Arabia and the U.S. The U.S. blamed Iran for two attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz in May and June. The two nations have been at loggerheads since Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Obama-era nuclear deal and imposed a series of stringent sanction on Tehran over concerns it continued work on its nuclear weapons program.

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I am a breaking news reporter for Forbes in London, covering Europe and the U.S. Previously I was a news reporter for HuffPost UK, the Press Association and a night rep

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