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Security of Global Energy Is At Risk

Security of Global Energy Is At Risk

Monday, 16 September, 2019 - 09:30
Salman Al-Dossary
Salman Al-Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.
A blessing in disguise. The attacks on two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia last Saturday and the disruption of the production of about 5.7 million barrels of oil - nearly 5 percent of global crude oil production per day – was the strongest message sent by Iran to the world about its continuous threat to global energy security.

The attacks took place in one of the largest oil refineries in the world. If that menace was not made through the Strait of Hormuz, which Iran has long threatened to shut down, these attacks, carried out through Iranian proxies, are achieving the same repeated goal. Iran had previously used sea mines to harm Saudi, Norwegian and Emirati tankers in the Persian Gulf last May, and attacked another oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia the same month.

All of this tells us that the world will face an economic catastrophe unless it seriously confronts the Iranian absurdity, not just by polishing its image and looking for exits as certain European countries do. It is also an explicit Iranian response to the Europeans’ recent efforts to hold a summit between Donald Trump and Hassan Rouhani.

Through this terrorist act, Iran continues its strategy to respond to the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal and its consequences, which have paralyzed its oil industry, disrupted its economy, reduced its export to less than 200 thousand barrels, after it used to export two million barrels just a year ago. The US president warned that the attacks had a negative impact not only on the kingdom, but also on US and global economies. This is a warning to the whole world, especially the oil-consuming countries, which, unfortunately, do not think they are concerned with what is happening.

It is true that the Kingdom has the ability and the will to deal with such an attack, as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in his telephone conversation with President Trump. But the West, especially the Europeans, have a responsibility to stop Iran’s aggressive behavior.

What is worse is that these countries do not fulfill their responsibilities, and above all criticize the Kingdom for confronting Iranian interference in Yemen. This means that they want the oil supplies to continue, with fair prices, but without ever contributing to it.

Who knows? Maybe one day they will wake up to see the price of a barrel of oil reaching triple digits. Only then will they know very well that Saudi Arabia was not the only one under attack, but the global economy that is about to face a catastrophe.

Any disruption to the oil sector in Saudi Arabia would have a bad impact on the global economy, with the Kingdom exporting more crude oil than any other country, according to the Wall Street Journal.

When Riyadh said it would compensate a “fraction” of the quantities that were interrupted by the attack on its oil refineries to its customers through stockpiles, it has proven its role as a country contributing to global stability. However, this role will not continue indefinitely. The recurrence of these attacks will have an impact on Saudi oil stocks. Then Saudi Arabia would have repeatedly warned of the danger of Iranian actions, and no one would have responded.

Perhaps they are waiting for an economic disaster. Or perhaps Iran has left no other solution to avoid this disaster than the scenario proposed by the Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, when he called for a decisive American strike against Iranian targets in response to the attack. Is it about time?!

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