Saudi Arabia stops oil-exports via Bab El-Mandeb

The top oil-exporting nation of the world has temporarily stopped its oil shipments going through Bab El-Mandeb after the Houthi attacks on two crude-oil carrying vessels.

Khalid al-Falih the Energy Minister of Saudi Arabia has stated that there will be no shipments of oil from the Strait with immediate effect and the suspension will remain in place till the conditions become safe and clear for maritime transit. As per the Saudi-Emirati group, Houthi rebels targeted oil tankers from Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea, thereby causing slight damage to one. The official statement from Saudi Aramco stated that two VLCC i.e. Very Large Crude Carriers were attacked by Houthis but the attack was foiled in time and thus only minor damage was caused to one of the ships. Both the carriers were huge with over two million barrels capacity.

The announcement has had an upward effect on the price of barrel and has added $1 to the same. Delay in supply of crude will have global effects. Even a slight shortage of 2-3 million barrels in a day can have substantial effect on crude supplies across the world and thereby on global economies. The attacks will also have serious repercussions for global shipping for it can lead to massive disruptions and hit oil transport. Red Sea is a major shipping corridor and danger to same will invoke reactions and reasons to intervene from Europe, Egypt and even US. This can widen the scale of Yemen war further. Such massive international participation in the war against Houthis is a prospect Saudi Arabia is hoping to arrive at.

It was in June when the governmental forces of Yemen along with the alliance partners launched a widespread operation against the Houthis to wrestle Hodeidah and its seaport from the rebels. It took the forces one week to capture the Hodeidah airport but have not been able to make any other advance since then. Both Saudi Arabia and UAE justified their advance over Hodeidah as a measure to protect the vital sea-lane of Red Sea.

Yemen has witnessed a devastating humanitarian crisis ever since the start of conflict in 2015 with more than 22 million people in need of serious aid.

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