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Houthis attack world’s largest oil export terminal, Brent leaps to pre-pandemic highs

Houthis from Yemen attacked the world’s largest oil export terminal yesterday, sending the price of Brent crude to highs not seen since before coronavirus was declared a pandemic.

Eight missiles and 14 drones were fired towards Ras Tanura on Saudi Arabia’s east coast, a giant Saudi Aramco complex capable of exporting roughly 6.5m barrels a day — nearly 7% of global oil demand.

On Sunday, the Saudi energy ministry said a storage tank in the Ras Tanura export terminal was attacked by a drone from the sea. Shrapnel from a missile also landed close to a residential compound for Aramco employees.

This marks the most serious attack on Saudi Arabia since September 2019, when the Houthis knocked out more than half the kingdom’s oil output for days with a missile attack on a refinery.

“We could see further upside in the market in the near-term, particularly as the market probably now needs to be pricing in some sort of risk premium, with these attacks picking up in frequency,” ING analysts said in a report, noting that this was the second attack this month following an incident in Jeddah on March 4.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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