Saudi crude exports to Europe are increasingly being shipped from its west coast export terminals at Yanbu and Muajjiz in order to avoid running the gauntlet of the southern Red Sea. The shift underlines Saudi Arabia’s complicated balancing act in sending cargoes through the route where Yemen’s Houthis have been attacking shipping since November.

Saudi Arabia continues to send oil to its own west coast facilities via the Bab al-Mandeb and officials have expressed confidence that the Houthis won’t attack Saudi assets (MEES, 19 January). But it is a different story when it comes to oil destined for markets in Europe and the Americas. Continued Western support for Israel means that cargoes destined for these markets are at a high risk from Houthi attacks while the Gaza conflict continues, with volumes for the US and UK at especial risk given their air strikes against Houthi targets (MEES, 12 January). (CONTINUED - 803 WORDS)