European Union understands Saudi decision to suspend oil shipments

Yemeni Houthis soldiers in northern district of Abs Hajjah governorate

Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis in a three-year war, lies beside the southern mouth of the Red Sea, one of the most important trade routes in the world for oil tankers.

Nearly 10 years ago, the oil market was shocked by the news that a Saudi oil tanker, Sirius Star, was hijacked by Somali pirates.

A breakthrough in US-EU trade talks also lent support to oil prices.

" Efforts are now underway to move the damaged ship to the nearest Saudi port".

"Saudi Arabia is temporarily halting all oil shipments through Bab al-Mandeb Strait immediately until the situation becomes clearer and the maritime transit through Bab al-Mandeb is safe", the statement said.

Brent crude futures rose 59 cents to $74.52 a barrel by 1008 GMT, falling from a 10-day high in earlier trading.

Prices of the West Texas Intermediate appear to have met a strong resistance area above the psychological $70.00 mark per barrel so far this week.

Nationwide crude stockpiles dropped to the lowest since 2015 last week and gasoline supplies fell for a fourth week.

Iran doesn't look like it will take U.S. sanctions (or a losing proxy war in Yemen) sitting down.

Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen in 2015 at the head of a military coalition backing the country's government after Huthi rebels ousted it from the capital Sanaa the previous year.

This attack underscores the risk of an escalation in tensions in the region.

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

Iranian commanders have threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz - the gateway to the Gulf - if the United States blocks its oil exports.

"The Red Sea is a very important shipping lane".

India vs England: Michael Vaughan slams ‘ridiculous’ Adil Rashid recall
Rashid has not made himself available to Yorkshire County Championship this season. "Neither has he expressed a desire to do so". Rashid said he expected better from his county Yorkshire. "Total devaluation in (of) the Championship", he said.

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

Perhaps this option is what eased the reaction of oil markets on Thursday after the Saudi announcement of a temporary suspension of oil exports estimated at two million barrels through Bab al-Mandeb, at a time when the world market is oversupplied due to the reduction of supplies from a number of major producers, in addition to expectations of the impact of the re-imposing of United States sanctions on Iran, on the global supply.

Saudi Aramco said Thursday there were no injuries or spills and that shutting the route was a precautionary measure.

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.

The OPEC heavyweight, a key US ally, has led a pact among oil producers to boost output to cool the market after Trump imposed sanctions on Iran and criticised OPEC for high prices.

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.

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of supplying missiles and arms to the Houthis, which both Tehran and the Houthis deny.

Bahri confirmed today that one of its VLCCs was damaged in what it described as an incident in the Red Sea.

Earlier this month, the alliance called a halt to the offensive in order to give United Nations efforts to reach a political solution a chance.

Oil prices were driven higher for the third consecutive day on Thursday, after Saudi Arabia closed a strategic shipping lane in the Red Sea following an attack on two of its large oil-tankers by Iranian backed Houthi fighters.

The Bab el-Mandeb strait, which connects the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea is only about 30 kilometres wide between Yemen and Djibouti, leaving ships more vulnerable as they pass through.

A report by Al-Jazeera said that the two ships attacked on Thursday each had a capacity of 2 million barrels of oil, but it was not known how much they were actually carrying. At the time, Minister al Falih said that the attack would not "affect economic activity or stall oil supplies".

According to the US Energy Information Administration, around 4.6 million barrels of crude and refined petroleum exports per day flowed through the Strait in 2016, headed towards Europe, Asia and the United States.

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