The billions of dollars Saudi Arabia spends on defense failed to prevent the strikes on its most critical refineries, sending oil prices soaring. This raises unsettling questions about who has the most to gain from the disruption.
The Saturday attacks caused the steepest crude spike in 30 years. Around 5.7 million barrels of daily crude output have been wiped out, which is more than half of the kingdom’s daily exports and five percent of the world’s oil supply.
Washington and Riyadh have blamed Iran for the attacks on the facilities. US officials say the attacks might have involved a combination of drones and cruise missiles. However, no evidence has been provided beyond satellite photos, which analysts say are insufficient to prove where the attacks came from, which weapons were used, and who fired them.
“Maybe that was the esoteric intent behind Washington and Riyadh – which retain technological and defense capabilities for preventing drone attacks – actually allowing the attacks against Aramco to take place,” Pye Ian, an American economic analyst and private equity executive, told RT.
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“Namely, targeting Iran for the blame and eventual retribution so as to block the building Eastern-and-Southern momentum away from petrodollar hegemony, of which Iran, Russia, China, Venezuela, and even Turkey, play key, integrative roles,” Ian said.
Saudi Arabia, which ranks third in terms of defense spending, has “a great deal of explaining to do” regarding how it could fail to defend its “most critical” oil facility from drone attacks, former US ambassador to Oman Gary Grappo was cited as saying by CNBC.
It could take weeks or even months to reconstruct the damaged oil facilities, yet Aramco has promised that it will be able to keep customers supplied for several weeks by drawing on its global oil storage network.
According to Pye Ian, there’s plenty of oil from other producers to make up for the expected Saudi shortage, but the question of whether they’ll be provisioned is more of a political consideration, rather than an economic or technical one, “As it has been for decades.”