Daily Management Review

Saudi Arabia suspends oil exports through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait


Saudi Arabia has decided to suspend oil exports through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait after an oil tanker in the Red Sea was attacked by rebels from Yemen, said Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid A. Al-Falih.

"The Kingdom will immediately suspend all oil supplies that pass through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, until the shipping becomes safe," the minister said. Yemeni rebels of the Ansar Allah movement attacked an oil tanker of Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea on Wednesday morning.

According to Al-Falih, two tankers of the "Saudi National Transportation Company" were attacked, each of which carried 2 million barrels of oil. One of the tankers received minor damage, and was towed to the nearest Saudi port. None of the crew was injured.

"Damage and oil spills in the sea could lead to a real ecological catastrophe," Al-Falih stressed. In his view, the Yemeni rebels posed an immediate threat to world trade and shipping in the Bab-el-Mandeb strait and the Red Sea.

The Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which connects the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea, includes a significant part of international trade routes, including key supplies of energy and food.

The al-Masirah TV channel said that the rebels attacked the Saudi warship Dammam off the western coast of the country. The insurgents are constantly attacking the ships of the Arab countries participating in the coalition against the rebels.

A civil conflict has been going on between the Yemen government and the Husit insurgents from the Ansar Allah movement since 2014. Attempts by the United Nations to resolve the issue were unsuccessful. The situation worsened around the strategically important port of Hodeida on the Red Sea, from which Yemeni government forces are trying to repel the Husit.

A number of experts noted that Riyadh has an opportunity to compensate for a part of losses in tanker transportation of oil through the Bab-el Mandeb strait by increasing supplies to the al Muajjiz Oil Terminal at the port of Yanbu on the Red Sea along the East-West oil pipeline with a throughput of 5 million barrels per day (with a planned increase to 7 million bpd).

source: reuters.com