Politics

Keyllanne Conway says Trump administration ready to tap strategic petroleum reserve if necessary

Key Points
  • Saudi Arabia shut down half its oil production Saturday after an attack claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels on the world's largest oil processing facility.
  • White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said the administration is prepared to tap into the petroleum reserve in order to stabilize the global energy supply.
  • The closure will impact nearly five million barrels of crude production a day, roughly 5% of the world's daily oil production.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway speaks to the press at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 16, 2019.
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

Following a series of drone attacks in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich Eastern Province on Saturday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said the administration is prepared to tap into the petroleum reserve in order to stabilize the global energy supply.

Saudi Arabia shut down half its oil production Saturday after an attack claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels on the world's largest oil processing facility. The closure will impact 5.7 million barrels of crude production a day, roughly 5% of the world's daily oil production.

"Our Department of Energy stands ready to tap into this strategic reserve, petroleum reserve, if we must to stabilize the global energy supply," Conway said Sunday.

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Heightened security at Saudi oil facilities following attacks

The drones attacked Hijra Khurais, one of Saudi Arabia's largest oil fields, and Abqaiq, the world's biggest crude stabilization facility.

"But more importantly, Secretary Pompeo and Secretary Treasury Mnuchin just this last week stood in the White House press briefing room and announced additional sanctions," Conway said. "And that is because we will continue to call out maligned behavior, continue with a maximum pressure campaign in Iran."

The White House condemned the attacks and said President Donald Trump spoke with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to offer U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's defense. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday blamed Iran for the "unprecedented attack," saying there was no evidence that the attacks came from Yemen.

Iran responded by calling the allegations "pointless." Some security experts say the attack may have come from an Iranian-backed militant group in Iraq.