The Guardian Incident off Oman involved vessel owned by Idan Ofer conglomerate
Alex Lawson Energy correspondent
Wed 16 Nov 2022 11.00 GMT
Oil prices have risen after a tanker owned by an Israeli billionaire was hit by a drone carrying a bomb off the coast of Oman.
The attack on Pacific Zircon, which is owned by Idan Ofer and operated by the Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, sent Brent crude prices up 65 cents to $94.5 (£79.23). The Liberian-flagged tanker had departed from Sohar, Oman, on Monday afternoon and was destined for Buenos Aires.
The commander of the US navy’s Fifth Fleet, Timothy Hawkins, told Reuters it was aware of an incident on Wednesday in the Gulf of Oman involving a commercial vessel.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, a military organisation that monitors shipping in the region, also said it was aware of an incident that was “being investigated”.
Ofer is the owner of the conglomerate that owns Quantum Pacific Shipping and he also has interests in the energy, sports and mining industries.
He is one of two sons of the shipping magnate Sammy Ofer, who died in 2011 and was once Israel’s richest person. Idan Ofer is worth nearly $10bn (£8.4bn), according to Forbes.
The incident pushed oil prices higher but the gains were capped by concerns over rising Covid-19 cases in China. Investors are worried that the country’s strict lockdowns could dent demand for oil as travel is restricted.
The price of crude had risen on Tuesday after oil supply to parts of Europe was temporarily suspended through a section of the Druzhba pipeline, according to pipeline operators in Slovakia and Hungary.
An explosion in eastern Poland near the Ukrainian border that killed two people also caused concern over an escalation in the Russia-Ukraine war.
Joe Biden said the trajectory of missile suggested it was not launched by Russian forces waging war in Ukraine, but added that he would await results of investigation.
Stephen Innes, the managing partner at SPI Asset Management, said that after the initial “kneejerk rally in oil prices”, the tepid market follow-through reflected the “significant prudence that will be taken to avoid an escalation”.