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Trump authorizes use of emergency oil reserve after Saudi attacks

President Trump on Sunday announced he had authorized the use of the U.S.'s emergency oil reserve in response to a series of drone attacks in Saudi Arabia that have disrupted the Gulf country's crude output.


"Based on the attack on Saudi Arabia, which may have an impact on oil prices, I have authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if needed, in a to-be-determined amount sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied," Trump said in a series of tweets. "I have also informed all appropriate agencies to expedite approvals of the oil pipelines currently in the permitting process in Texas and various other States."

Established in the 1970s in response to the Arab oil embargo, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is the world's largest crude oil stash. Located along parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast, it has been used a handful of times times since its conception: during the first Gulf War in 1991, after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 and following supply chain disruptions in Libya in 2011.

Trump's decision, which had been signaled earlier this weekend by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, comes after a series of drone attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia cut off around 5 percent of the country's crude output, sparking fears that they will impact oil prices around the globe.

The attacks were claimed by Houthi rebels fighting Saudi-backed forces in Libya, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed the attacks on Iran. Tehran has dismissed the allegations.

Trump later tweeted that the U.S. was waiting for confirmation as to who was likely responsible.

"There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!" he said.

The attacks are a notable escalation in the ongoing conflict between Riyadh, one of the U.S.'s closest partners in the region, and Tehran.

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