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Trump says SPR release may be needed to keep oil market supplied after Saudi attack

Washington — US President Donald Trump said Sunday he has authorized a release of US strategic oil stocks, "if needed, in a to-be-determined amount" to keep the oil market well-supplied following the attack on Saudi Arabia's oil plants.

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Trump made the comment on Twitter five minutes before oil markets were opening in Asia.

"Based on the attack on Saudi Arabia, which may have an impact on oil prices, I have authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if needed, in a to-be-determined amount sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied," Trump said. "I have also informed all appropriate agencies to expedite approvals of the oil pipelines currently in the permitting process in Texas and various other States."

Strikes early Saturday on the Abqaiq processing facility -- the largest in the world -- and the Khurais oil field have thrown into question global crude supply security.

Saudi Arabia confirmed the temporary loss of 5.7 million b/d of oil production, but said export customers would continue to be supplied from inventories. Abqaiq is the single-most important facility in Saudi's oil industry, while Khurais is the second-biggest oil field.

The US could move as much as 2.12 million b/d of SPR crude to global markets, but as much as 1.74 million b/d of addition marine distribution capacity would likely be needed in the event of an Abqaiq attack, according to a 2016 report by the US Department of Energy.

As of Friday, the SPR held 644.8 million barrels of crude in four sites in Texas and Louisiana, including 250.3 million barrels of sweet crude and 394.5 million barrels of sour crude, according to DOE.

IEA consumer countries are required to hold emergency oil stocks equivalent to 90 days' worth of net imports. The agency said over the weekend that oil markets remain well-supplied.

-- Meghan Gordon, meghan.gordon@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Jason Lindquist, newsdesk@spglobal.com