BP suspends all oil shipments through the Red Sea as attacks escalate

by ELIZABETH NAPOLITANO at cbsnews.com

BP said Monday it has suspended gas and oil shipments through the Red Sea amid a surge in attacks on ships in the region from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

The energy giant’s decision to temporarily freeze shipments pushed up global oil prices on Monday, fueling fears that geopolitical tensions in the Middle East could throttle energy supplies. “In light of the deteriorating security situation for shipping in the Red Sea, bp has decided to temporarily pause all transits through the Red Sea,” BP said Monday in a statement. 

Global oil prices jumped on Monday, with Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude rising nearly 3% to $73.49 and $78.68, respectively, according to Bloomberg.

At least six energy and shipping companies have halted traffic traversing the Red Sea because of a recent increase in missile and drone strikes on ships and oil tankers from areas controlled by the Houthis, an Iran-backed rebels group based in Yemen. Houthi militants have launched a series of drone and missile strikes targeting Israel since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on the country.

The Houthis escalated their attacks last week, hitting or just missing ships without clear ties to the conflict. The strikes have prompted a number of the world’s largest shipping companies, including CMA CGA, Equinor, Evergreen, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk, Orient Overseas and ZIM, to pause activities in the region.