Trump congratulates himself for US becoming 'number one energy producer in the world' in wake of Saudi refinery drone attacks

President boasts of energy independence following attack on major refinery in Middle East

Harry Cockburn
Monday 16 September 2019 13:44
Drone attacks spark huge fire at Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest oil processing facility

Donald Trump has congratulated himself in a tweet claiming the US is “now the biggest energy producer in the world”.

“Thank you Mr President,” he wrote in the tweet, which comes as global oil prices have risen following an attack on one of the world's largest oil refineries, in Saudi Arabia.

The tweet boasting of America’s energy independence comes after Mr Trump had said the US was “locked and loaded” and ready to use military force following the strike on two Saudi energy facilities, including the kingdom’s enormous oil processing plant at Abqaiq.

Saudi officials said there were 19 points of impact across the sites and suggested the attack had come from Iran or Iraq.

The attack is estimated to have removed 5.7 million barrels of oil from the market - a greater shock to the system than the Iranian revolution in 1979.

The Abquiq site processes 70 per cent of the entire country’s oil output.

Following the attack, Mr Trump wrote: “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!”

His next tweet, written all in capital letters, simply said: “PLENTY OF OIL!”

Mr Trump’s claim the US is “now” the biggest energy producer in the world appears to indicate the attack has seen a change in the pecking order, but this is not the case.

The US became the world’s biggest overall energy producer in 2012, under Obama, and became the largest producer of oil last year, putting out over 15 million barrels a day, compared to Saudi’s 12 million barrels. Meanwhile China produces the most electricity in the world - almost twice as much as the US in 2018 - with over 7 million gigawatt hours compared to the US’s 4.4 million gigawatt hours.

And regarding Mr Trump’s claims the US is now a net exporter of energy, there is no proof that this is the case yet, with the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasting the US to become a net exporter of oil and gas by 2020.

The US has blamed Iran for the attack on Saudi Arabia.

Over the weekend US secretary of state Mike Pompeo suggested Tehran was behind the attack and he has since been backed up by energy secretary Rick Parry, who said: “Make no mistake about it, this was a deliberate attack on the global economy and the global energy market.”

But Iran has strenuously denied the claims. Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said: “Such fruitless and blind accusations and remarks are incomprehensible and meaningless.”

There are now concerns the attack could send the price of oil to over $75 a barrel, possibly even reaching $100 a barrel.

The RAC has warned garages not to hike the price of fuel as a result of the attacks, as high prices at the pumps mean retailers should be able to accommodate a 3p per litre price rise without passing it on to UK drivers.

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