Saudi Arabia seeks oil supply protection

G20 energy ministers to collaborate to keep market stability

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih attending the G20 ministerial meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth in Karuizawa in Japan on Saturday. — SPA

KARUIZAWA, Japan — Saudi Arabia called for swift action to secure Gulf energy supplies, after the United States blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in a vital oil shipping route.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said "there must be a rapid and decisive response to the threat" to energy supplies, market stability and consumer confidence after the attacks in the Gulf area, the Saudi Energy Ministry reported on Twitter.

The US military released a video on Thursday, saying it showed Iran's Revolutionary Guards were behind the explosions that damaged the Norwegian-owned Front Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous.

"Iran did do it and you know they did it because you saw the boat," US President Donald Trump told Fox News on Friday.

Oil prices have climbed 3.4% since Thursday's attacks.

"The Kingdom is committed to ensuring stability of global oil markets," the Saudi energy minister said in Japan at a meeting of energy ministers from the G20 group of nations.

Energy ministers from the Group of 20 major economies shared concerns over attacks on tankers in the Gulf and will collaborate to maintain stability in the oil market, Japan's Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said on Saturday.

"The most important thing was that we have shared an understanding among energy ministers that we need to work together to deal with the recent incidents from energy security point of view," Seko told reporters at a meeting of G20 energy and environment ministers being held this weekend in Karuizawa.

"Same thing happened at our bilateral meetings," he said, referring to talks with officials from several countries including Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Falih told Seko in their bilateral meeting that it took recent events, including a May 12 attack on four tankers off the United Arab Emirates, "very seriously."

The recent attacks were more harmful than physical damage to the ships as they affected global confidence in energy supply security, he said.

Dan Brouillette, US deputy secretary of energy, also condemned the attacks.

"We stand firmly with Japanese and everyone else," he told a news conference on the sideline of the G20 ministerial meeting.

A G20 summit is to be held in Osaka on June 28-29. — Agencies