U.S. officials say they believe Saudi Arabia will export oil from the U.K. as early as the end of the year
Saudi Arabia is likely to begin exporting oil from its U.B.E. oil fields as early, U.s. officials told CNN on Friday.
The decision to export will be a major blow to the kingdom, which has been struggling with a drop in global oil prices, but could be welcomed by oil-producing nations like the U of A.
The U.N. said on Thursday that it would halt its own efforts to restart oil production after Saudi Arabia cut off the flow of crude to Kuwait, citing health and safety concerns.
The Saudis, which also cut the flow to Qatar, also cut off its exports to the United Arab Emirates, according to a statement from the State Department.
The oil export announcement comes as U.A.E.-based oil giant Shell plans to begin selling oil from a newly built field in the British Isles, a move that is likely a signal that the country may be ready to export its oil.
The decision to sell from the field in Shorrock is a major setback for the Saudi regime, which is currently under investigation for war crimes in Yemen and the killing of thousands of people in the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi rebels in the country’s war.
The kingdom has been pushing for a halt to the flow and has threatened to cut off production if the U-Bevs decision goes through.
Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, on Friday told reporters that the government was working to restart production, but that it had not yet made a final decision on whether to export.
“We are still trying to understand the reasons behind the decision and what will happen, so it will be up to the ministry to explain to us in due course what the decision will be,” Naimi said.
The Saudi government has long said that it has no intention of exporting its oil to the U.-K, and has sought to distance itself from the kingdom’s war in Yemen, where the government has been bombing the rebel coalition.
The country’s foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, has said that the kingdom would continue to supply oil to Qatar and other Gulf states as long as they continue to support the Saudi war effort.
But Naimis decision could be a significant setback for oil producers in the region.
The U.I.S.-based International Energy Agency estimates that the UBev reserves could account for nearly 20 percent of global production by 2020, which would help Saudi Arabia’s economy and allow it to compete with other major oil exporters.