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VERIFY: How the Saudi Arabia oil refinery attacks affect the US oil supply

An attack on oil refineries in Saudi Arabia has a lot of people focused on crude oil prices. We asked our VERIFY team to find out what it means for your money.

There are a lot of claims and speculation about the recent attacks on oil refineries in Saudi Arabia. 

As the investigation into who is responsible ramps up, here are some facts about what happened and possible repercussions for the rest of the world.

FACT: Saudi Arabia produces 10 to 11 million barrels of crude oil each day.

The numbers fluctuate slightly from year to year, but data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows typical production of 10 million crude oil barrels per day or more from Saudi Arabia.

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that the U.S. has been importing about 579,000 barrels each day in 2019. That number is down compared to previous years where the U.S. would import closer to one million barrels each day.

Source: Export.gov; EIA data on U.S. Imports

FACT: The attacks caused Saudi Arabia to lose production of 5.7 million barrels each day.

The International Energy Agency says that’s about 5% of the total global production of crude oil. The group's data also showed that the loss of 5.7 million barrels per day is the highest disruption on oil production since events like the Gulf War in 1991.

Source: IEA data

FACT: There’s a global emergency oil supply

The IEA also explains about this supply, which was set up by a number of countries across the world for instances like this.

“Each IEA member country has an obligation to hold emergency oil stocks equivalent to at least 90 days of net oil imports. In the event of a severe oil supply disruption, IEA members can decide to release these stocks to the market as part of a collective action,” the site reads.

According to a press release issued during the situation at the Strait of Hormuz earlier this year, the IEA estimates that member countries hold about 1.5 billion barrels of public emergency oil stocks.

Given the abrupt disruption in Saudi Arabia, countries like the U.S have already authorized the use of these reserves to keep prices down and make sure there aren't any supply shortages.

Source: IEA data

Fact: Crude Oil Prices jumped about 20% Monday

The number changes slightly depending on which source you looked at, but crude oil prices did jump somewhere from 14-20% on Monday. It was the largest single-day rise in oil prices since the 1991 Gulf War.

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It is important to note that oil prices do fluctuate frequently. While a 20% jump is definitely high, the actual price of crude oil is still lower than during some periods in 2018.

Source: OIL (WTI); OIL

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