Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Smoke billowing from an Aramco oil facility following the Houthi attacks. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Iran denied Sunday U.S. accusations that it was behind drone attacks targeting the world's largest oil processing facility at Abqaiq and a major oil field at Khurais in Saudi Arabia the previous day.

The latest: Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the early Saturday strikes, AP reports. But U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran, saying "there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen." Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi said in a statement the U.S. accusations were "blind, incomprehensible and meaningless."

Why it matters: The attacks cut crude oil output by 5.7 million barrels a day, the state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco said. Saudi Arabia estimates that's about half of the country's oil production — roughly 5% of the world's daily crude oil output, per the Wall Street Journal.

Where it stands: The strikes were the largest attacks on "Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure in more than a decade," Bloomberg reports. The energy minister said Saudi Aramco is "working to recover the lost quantities." Saudi Aramco executives held an emergency meeting to determine the damage, per Bloomberg.

  • The plant, which burst into flames, is "crucial to global energy supplies," per AP.
  • The New York Times notes it's unclear where the drones were launched from, and how the Houthis managed to hit facilities deep in Saudi territory, some 500 miles from Yemeni soil.

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Ben Geman: The attack is likely to push oil prices upward, perhaps significantly so, owing to concern about geopolitical risk — even if, as the Wall Street Journal reports, production is quickly restored and overall Saudi supplies to global markets aren’t disrupted.

What they're saying: President Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke on the phone Saturday, with Trump offering "his support for Saudi Arabia's self-defense," according to deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere.

  • Saudi media reported that the crown prince told Trump, "The kingdom is willing and able to confront and deal with this terrorist aggression."
  • Deere said Trump declared, "Violent actions against civilian areas and infrastructure vital to the global economy only deepen conflict and mistrust." The U.S. "remains committed to ensuring global oil markets are stable and well supplied," he added.

The big picture: With tensions heightened between the U.S. and Iran, and across the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Iran —there's a potential "risk to global oil supply," Bloomberg writes.

  • The Houthi rebels have been fighting the Saudi-backed central government for years in a war that's led to the one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.
  • In January, United Nations investigators wrote that the Houthis had acquired advanced drones that could have a range of up to 930 miles, NYT reports.
  • Saudi Aramco was reviving preparations for a massive IPO when the attacks happened.

Go deeper: Saudi Aramco replaces chairman as oil giant prepares for massive IPO

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Updated 53 mins ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!