Washington, Sep 17 (IANS) President Donald Trump said Monday that the US does not need oil or gas from the Middle East, as his government awaited information from Saudi Arabia about the attacks on that country’s refineries.
“Because we have done so well with Energy over the last few years (thank you, Mr. President!), we are a net Energy Exporter,” Trump said on Twitter, the Efe news reported.
“We are…now the Number One Energy Producer in the World,” he added. “We don’t need Middle Eastern Oil & Gas, & in fact have very few tankers there.”
“But will help our Allies!” he said.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that the US is “locked and loaded” to respond to the attack on the Saudi refineries.
“Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. 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!” Trump tweeted.
Last Saturday two petroleum refineries of the Saudi state petroleum and gas company Aramco, so important for supplying the world with crude, was attacked with 10 drones that caused an almost 50 per cent loss of its production.
On Sunday, Trump authorised the release of oil from the US strategic reserve, if such a move should be necessary to ensure the global supply, reduced significantly by the recent attacks on Saudi refineries.
“Based on the attack on Saudi Arabia, which may have an impact on oil prices, I have authorised 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 wrote.
The Energy Department had already said in a statement that the US “stands ready” to take such measures in reply to what happened in Saudi Arabia.
The Houthi rebels of Yemen claimed responsibility for the attacks, with support from Iran – but on Saturday US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo directly blamed the Islamic Republic (IS).
Faced with the possible economic impact of the damage done, Washington began coordinating with the International Energy Agency (IEA), an organisation created after the oil crisis of 1973, to study “potential available options for collective global action if needed,” the US Energy Department said.
That department controls the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), which stores the largest supply of crude for emergencies in the world.
That petroleum reserve, property of the US government, is located in enormous underground caverns on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, specifically in the states of Texas and Louisiana.
That reserve was created in 1975 after the Arab embargo that raised oil prices and hurt the US economy. Its purpose is to avoid future interruptions of the crude supply and serve as “a key tool of foreign policy,” according to the Energy Department.
The US currently has stored 630 million barrels of crude to be used in case of emergency, said a high government official who asked to remain anonymous.