Oil prices rose on Tuesday after the world’s top oil exporter Saudi Arabia said explosive-laden drones had attacked two pumping stations belonging to state oil company Aramco.
Brent crude futures were at $70.79 a barrel at 1035 GMT, up 56 cents or 0.80%. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $61.35 per barrel, up 31 cents or 0.51%.
The Saudi state news agency quoted Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih as saying that Aramco had halted pumping on the East-West pipeline until the damage was evaluated, but that production and exports were continuing without disruptions.
Falih said the attack was an “act of terrorism” that targeted the world’s global oil supply.
Saudi Arabia said earlier that two of its oil tankers were among those attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, incidents which ratcheted up tensions in the world’s top oil exporting region.
A U.S. official said Iran was the likely culprit, but Iranian officials denied responsibility for the incident.
A television station run by Yemen’s Houthi group said on Tuesday the Iran-aligned movement had launched drone attacks on Saudi installations, without identifying the targets or time of the attacks.
Tehran has been embroiled in an escalating war of words with the United States over stricter U.S. sanctions, which have cut its oil exports and tightened global supply.
A fifth of global oil consumption passes through the Strait of Hormuz from Middle East crude producers to global markets.
The market was also holding out some hope for flagging U.S.-China trade talks as both sides expressed positive sentiments which may signal that the negotiations are not yet dead.