International oil prices, which dived overnight, gradually climbed in Asian trading on Friday (March 26), with Brent Crude Oil futures and WTI crude oil futures up more than 2% intraday. U.S. oil prices rose to expand, WTI crude oil futures and Brent crude oil futures rose by 4% during the day.
Foreign media sources said that Saudi oil facilities are still under attack so far in the early morning. Also, there is news that the Suez Canal rescue effort will take at least a week.
The latest news late Friday afternoon said Yemen’s Houthis claimed to have attacked Saudi Aramco’s multiple oil facilities in Ras al Tanura, Jizan, using 12 Drones and eight ballistic missiles.
This comes after Saudi authorities said early Friday that a gasoline distribution station in Jizan province was attacked by Yemen’s Houthis and subsequently caught fire.
According to CCTV News, the Saudi state news agency reported overnight on the 25th, citing the Saudi Ministry of Energy, that a petroleum products distribution station in the southern Saudi city of Jizan was attacked by a shell that evening, causing a fire in one of the station’s tanks, which fortunately did not cause any casualties.
CCTV news also reported that on the afternoon of 26 local Time, the Saudi-led multinational coalition issued a notice saying that it successfully intercepted a ballistic missile from Yemeni territory. Multinational coalition command spokesman Turki al-Maliki said in a written statement that coalition forces successfully intercepted the missile over Najran in southern Saudi Arabia, but did not disclose whether the incident resulted in casualties or the exact location of the intercepted missile.
In the statement, the Saudi Ministry of Energy condemned the act of sabotage against civilian facilities, saying it was not only aimed at Saudi Arabia alone, but could affect the stability of Saudi crude oil exports and even world energy supplies.
As of press time, Energy Intelligence Group correspondent Amena Bakr said the attacks on Saudi oil facilities continue. Earlier sources also said the Houthis in Yemen believe they have the upper hand and will not end the war easily.
Earlier news said Iran had fired missiles at Israeli ships in the Arabian Sea. The news began to gain traction last night, narrowing losses in WTI crude futures, which had plunged 6% last night, to less than 5% and in Brent crude futures, which had fallen more than 5%, to less than 4%.
According to local Israeli media outlet Channel 12, an Iranian missile hit an Israeli cargo ship headed from Tanzania to India, although the outlet did not disclose the source or details of the Iranian action. The report said the ship sustained some damage, but is still able to travel. Friction between Iran and Israel has been ongoing in recent months. According to Israeli media reports last week, the Israeli side blew up more than a dozen Iranian oil tankers over several weeks, causing cumulative billions of dollars in damage.
It is worth noting that today (Friday) marks the sixth anniversary of the Saudi coalition’s intervention in the Yemeni civil war. Although the Saudis have proposed a comprehensive ceasefire to the Houthis on Monday, the other side does not seem to have any intention to do so.
According to Xinhua, Saudi Arabia proposed a UN-supervised “comprehensive” ceasefire to the Houthis in Yemen on Monday, local time, as part of a new series of proposals aimed at ending the disastrous six-year-long conflict. But the Houthis were quick to express their disdain for the initiative.
Iranian-backed Houthi militants are now escalating attacks on Saudi Arabia, including on the country’s oil facilities, and trying to capture the last stronghold of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government in the north of the country.
The Saudi government issued a statement saying the initiative includes “a comprehensive cease-fire throughout the country under the supervision of the United Nations. The Saudis also proposed reopening the international airport in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa and restarting political talks between the Yemeni government and the Houthis.
The Saudi cease-fire proposal also calls for tax and customs revenues from ships transporting oil to the Red Sea port of Hodeidah to be deposited into a joint account at Yemen’s central bank. Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan was quoted as saying.
“We want the guns to return to complete calm. This initiative will take effect as soon as the Houthis agree to it. It is an opportunity to end the crisis in Yemen.”
The Yemeni government welcomed the proposal, but the Houthis dismissed it, saying it was “nothing new” and reiterating their demand that the Saudi-initiated air and sea blockade of Yemen be completely lifted. According to Masirah TV, a Houthi spokesman said.
“The Saudis must announce the cessation of the aggression and the complete lifting of the blockade.”
The new Biden-led U.S. administration is trying to restart peace talks in Yemen, according to the report.
So far this month, the Houthis have admitted to three attacks on Saudi oil facilities, with a marked escalation in attacks. Notably, in September 2019, the Houthis attacked a major Saudi refining facility, causing a brief cut in Saudi production capacity.
Faced with almost daily attacks, Saudi Arabia is seeking help from the United States and other allies. Saudi Arabia has also previously said it will take deterrent action to protect its oil facilities.
The above events once again highlight the complexity of crude oil fundamentals.