An attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman sent crude prices up on Thursday, putting the industry at the core of rising tensions in the region.
As the US Navy said it was assisting the tankers in waters close to the Strait of Hormuz, Brent crude surged as much as 4.5 per cent – bouncing back from a five-month low propelled by supply concerns in recent weeks.
A barrel of Brent crude enjoyed its largest intraday gain since April, hitting $62.57 per barrel before pulling back to $61.31 in the early evening.
The incident is one among many assaults on oil infrastructure in the Gulf over the past month. Two Saudi-owned oil vessels were sabotaged in the Persian Gulf in early May after the United States tightened its sanctions against Iran, while a Norwegian ship was also damaged in the same area.
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, told reporters at the US State Department that Iran was responsible for the attacks on Thursday. “It is the assessment by the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,” he said.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said “suspicious doesn’t begin to describe” Thursday’s attacks ahead of a visit by Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe.
Mr Abe, who was meeting supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei when reports of the incident emerged, is in Tehran seeking to ease US-Iran tensions.
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