Brent oil price up as some Saudi Red Sea shipments suspended

Iran-backed Houthis hit Saudi oil tanker off Yemen coast

Saudis halt oil shipments through waterway after Yemen rebel attack

Saudi Aramco said to avoid the risk of a spill or harm to crews, the company has 'halted all oil shipments through Bab El-Mandeb Strait with immediate effect'.

'(US President Donald) Trump should know that we are nation of martyrdom and that we await him'.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates strongly backed Trump's decision to quit a nuclear deal with Iran, which the two Arab states accuse of supplying the Houthis with weapons, including missiles.

The coalition said in a statement carried by Saudi state media on Wednesday that the Houthi movement had attacked one oil tanker west of Yemen's Hodeidah port, but did not name the vessel or describe how it was attacked.

One of the VLCCs sustained minimal damage, the statement said.

"For a tanker carrying Saudi crude from Ras Tanura to Rotterdam, sea days on front haul alone will increase from 21 via Red Sea and Suez canal to 36 via the Cape", he said.

Oil prices climbed on Thursday after Saudi Arabia closed a strategic shipping lane.

The Houthis, who have also launched missile attacks on Saudi cities, including the capital Riyadh, have threatened to block the strait of Bab al-Mandeb several times to force the coalition to stop its air strikes. As high oil prices and improved efficiency force refineries in the U.S. and Europe toward closure, the industry is shifting toward the Middle East and Asia in a move fueled by a thirst for energy among emerging economies.

The statement called on the world community to immediately come up to support the government's military efforts to purge the western coast from the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen and mount pressure on them to withdraw from the city of Hodeidah, confirming that the continuation of the militias' control on Hodeidah and its strategic port would expose worldwide navigation to terror attacks.

Russian energy minister Alexander Novak on Friday said the market remains volatile and responds to verbal interventions, adding that the market has priced in risks related to USA sanctions against Iran.

Iran-backed Houthis hit Saudi oil tanker off Yemen coast
Saudi Arabia suspends oil exports through Red Sea lane after Houthi attack

It was not clear if a Saudi-led military coalition would take additional security measures or impose further restrictions on imports to Yemen, which is struggling with the world's most urgent humanitarian crisis.

'Targeting the two Saudi oil tankers in the Red Sea only confirms the need to liberate Hodeidah from the Houthi militias.

"This systematic attack is a terrorist act which shows the nature and aggression of the Houthis".

A similar attack happened in April, off the Yemeni port of Hodeidah.

One of the coalition's main justifications for intervening in Yemen's war in 2015 was to protect shipping routes such as the Red Sea.

Al-Zayani called on the UN Security Council to deter the Houthi group and stop its flagrant violation of worldwide laws, jeopardizing the freedom of navigation in Bab El-Mandab Strait and the Red Sea and threatening the interests of the countries overlooking it as well as the entire world.

Following the attack, the Saudi coalition said the rebels "had nearly caused an environmental disaster", according to the state-run al-Ekhbariya TV channel.

The Bab al-Mandeb strait, where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden in the Arabian Sea, is only 20 km (12 miles) wide, making hundreds of ships potentially an easy target.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, around 4.6 million barrels of crude and refined petroleum exports per day flowed through the Strait in 2016, headed towards Europe, Asia and the United States.

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