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Western oil heads east

UnknownThe first shipment of Alberta crude from British Columbia tidewater is on its way to the Irving Oil refining facility in Saint John. The route will take the Panama-flagged tanker, Cabo de Hornos, 11,900 kilometres from Burnaby, B.C. via the Panama Canal to New Brunswick.

The petroleum, sourced through Alberta energy company Cenovus, comes just two months after Irving announced it would seek greater Western Canadian resources for its East Coast facilities following the demise of the Energy East Pipeline project. The (CAN) $12 billion Energy East Pipeline was proposed by TransCanada (TC) Pipelines in 2013 and would have travelled 4,600 kilometres to points in Quebec and New Brunswick. If completed the line would have been among the world’s longest and would have carried 1 million barrels of Alberta and Saskatchewan crude per day. Following the election of the Trudeau government, the project was scrapped in 2017, leaving Eastern Canadian-based operators, such as Irving, to continue to source both refined and raw petroleum from the U.S. and other markets.

Now, using the Panama Canal route Irving will see the 229-metre Cabo de Hornos vessel arrive July 14 at refinery receiving docks in Saint John. After the Energy East Project was shelved, Irving approached the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) this spring (April) to ask for permission to use foreign tankers in an effort to increase the amount of domestic crude Irving gets from offshore Newfoundland and Western Canada. Approval was granted in May and Irving got busy making arrangements.

Irving has reported that it was importing the vast majority of its refinery inputs from sites in the U.S. and was using about 20% Canadian petroleum in its operations. In its application to the CTA Irving Oil stated that they sought to lessen their reliance on foreign petroleum at their Saint John facility, which is Canada’s largest refinery with a daily processing capacity of 320,000 barrels per day.

“It is critical to our customers, to our business, and to energy security throughout Atlantic Canada that we are able to use foreign crude oil tankers to access Western Canadian crude oil on an urgent basis and going forward for one year to allow for effective and flexible supply chain planning and to strengthen the link between Canadian oil producers and our refinery in this challenging and uncertain time,” said Irving Oil chief refining and supply officer Kevin Scott.

OCTANE editor Kelly Gray can be reached at Kgray@ensembleiq.com.


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Oil and gas spending estimates adjusted lower as uncertainties persist

New forecasts show dramatically lower expectations for 2020 capital spending in the oil and gas sector both nationally and in Alberta, the province that produces 65% of the country’s natural gas and 82% of its oil.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers now estimates that $23.3 billion will be spent in the oil and gas production sector in Canada this year, down from about $37 billion in its January forecast.

Producers have announced billions of dollars in budget cuts since the start of the year to cope with lower oil prices as global energy demand plummets due to measures taken to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its January prediction represented about a 6% increase over 2019, credited to new industry friendly policies in Alberta and Saskatchewan and growing optimism that export pipeline capacity would be added.

The Alberta Energy Regulator, meanwhile, estimates that oil and gas capital spending in the province this year will fall to between $14.1 billion and $16.4 billion as price uncertainties continue to hurt producer confidence.

In its energy outlook posted Monday, the regulator says capital spending fell by 31% in 2019 to $18.9 billion. It attributed the 2019 drop to uncertainties around energy policy, low energy prices and market access constraints.


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Irving buys Come By Chance refinery

Move enhances company’s market edge

UnknownIrving Oil has announced the completion of its acquisition of North Atlantic Refining Corp. from U.S.-based investment firm Silverpeak. The deal, with undisclosed financial terms, includes a 135,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) refinery located at Come By Chance, NL, as well as a network of retail sites and other marketing assets.

Unknown-1The retail locations include nearly 100 company-owned and dealer sites and cardlocks, including the Orangestore chain of 24 convenience stores. North Atlantic Refining Corp has been a well-known major player in the province’s stove oil, gasoline, and propane trade since 1950.

The Newfoundland refinery is one that comes with a storied past of bankruptcies and business losses. Bought and sold a number of times since it went into service in the early 1970s, the facility was built to refine light crude and takes about 70% of its inputs from sources in the U.S. Silverpeak had recently invested $400 million to bring capacity up from about 100,000 bpd to 135,000bpd. Proposed is a further upgrade that would increase output to more than 165,000bbd and add a new coker that would allow a heavier grade of crude to be refined.

This initiative that is now in Irving’s court would bode well for the company given that they just arranged to ‘import’ Albertan heavy bitumen via tankers through the Panama Canal route. As well, Newfoundland and Labrador offshore wells also produce heavier crude and with an upgrade, the Come By Chance facility could finally refine the locally sourced heavy oil.

The Come By Chance refinery and the North Atlantic Refining Corp. convenience retail and fuel network in Newfoundland and Labrador is a strategic fit for Irving. With the closing of the Silverpoint deal, Irving will now operate the only two refineries in the Atlantic region. The other is Canada’s largest refinery at 320,000bbd and is located at St. John, NB. These facilities are married to another refinery in Cork, Ireland (71,000bbd). Together this recent agreement gives Irving a solid footing in fuel refining in the North Atlantic basin as well as an uptick in retail locations that create a greater market presence for this Halifax-based family business.

Kgray@ensembleiq.com


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Oil and gas drilling forecast revised to 49 year low as producers cut spending

Unknown-1The Petroleum Services Association of Canada has revised its 2020 Canadian drilling forecast to an almost 50-year record low of 3,100 oil and gas wells, a level not seen since 2,900 wells were drilled in 1972.

PSAC interim CEO Elizabeth Aquin says more than $7 billion of capital investment in the energy sector has been cancelled to date this year thanks to demand destruction from measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and a supply surplus due to an oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

She said blockades of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline and cancellation of the Frontier oilsands project have also hurt investor confidence in the Canadian oil and gas industry.

PSAC chairman Mark O’Byrne says the industry appreciates government assistance such as $1.7 billion in federal funding to clean up orphan and inactive wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, but will need more help to ensure survival.

The new forecast represents a decrease of 1,400 wells, or 31%, from PSAC’s original forecast of 4,500 wells announced in October.

About 4,900 wells were drilled in 2019.

“The majority of the impact will be felt on the oil side as supply overwhelms demand and storage levels surge to capacity,” said Aquin.

“This has left producers little incentive to drill for more with the price of a barrel of oil now fetching less than a cup of coffee. We expect to see a 38% drop in activity for oil wells versus 2019.”


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Project deferral, oil prices troubling for N.L. economy during pandemic

Unknown-2The global COVID-19 pandemic is spelling trouble for Newfoundland and Labrador’s oil and gas industry, adding to existing economic challenges in the cash-strapped province.

Premier Dwight Ball acknowledged last week the province is experiencing “tough times,” referencing deferred investment on projects and historic lows in oil prices.

Equinor and Husky Energy announced the decision to defer the Bay du Nord offshore development project due to falling oil prices and economic downturn as countries respond to the novel coronavirus.

A statement from Equinor Canada says planning on the project will continue with adjusted timelines.

The project in the Flemish Pass Basin, about 500 kilometres east of St. John’s, was announced in 2018 but not yet officially sanctioned. Equinor had set a target of 2020 to decide.

The Bay du Nord project was expected to deliver first oil by 2025. It was a key part of the province’s plan to rapidly increase offshore oil and gasdevelopment, including a goal to double production to more than 650,000 barrels a day by 2030.

Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady said the news is disappointing, but she said it’s a positive sign that the project is deferred rather than cancelled during such a tumultuous time.

“These are difficult times, there’s no doubt, and it was difficult to hear that they’re deferring their decision,” Coady said by phone. “I remain kind of optimistic that things will move into a better place as we move forward.”

She said she remains encouraged by exploration ongoing in the province’s offshore.

Ball urged the federal government to take quick action on financial support for provinces on Wednesday but said Ottawa should not respond with a one-size-fits-all approach.

“My message to the federal government is, it’s urgent to get this money moving,” Ball said on Wednesday.

Larry Short, a chartered professional accountant who owns an investment firm in St. John’s, said the situation adds up to a “body blow” for the province’s finances.

“All the bad parts of the Bible have been delivered upon the province, and all the same time,” Short said by phone Thursday.

Short pointed to the immediacy of the COVID-19 crisis, the billions over-budget Muskrat Falls hydro project that accounts for a third of the province’s debt and the oil price collapse as serious challenges to the province’s budget that can’t be ignored much longer.

“We’ve got three major problems here that have suddenly come home to roost, and the province is going to have to really struggle to get through them over the next period of time,” he said.

He said the effects may not be seen until the government tables its budget, likely in the summer after a Liberal Party election set for May that will determine the new party leader and premier.

But with the federal government experiencing financial difficulties of its own, including major blows to Alberta’s oil-reliant economy, Short said Ottawa won’t be in a position to assist Newfoundland and Labrador financially as it normally would.

While prices are being hit hard right now by barrels of cheap oil from Russia and Saudi Arabia, he said Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore might be left standing as a profitable and desirable drilling site once prices rise again, as the industry is less susceptible to disruptions like pipeline project delays.


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Suncor defers Montreal refinery project to focus on low cost oilsands expansions

Suncor Energy Inc.’s on-again, off-again plan to add a coker unit to its Montreal refinery to allow it to process heavier barrels of oil, including oilsands bitumen, is off the table as it shuffles its spending priorities.

The $2-billion project has been shelved as the company focuses on low-cost oilsands expansions, projects that will help reduce emissions and cost-cutting digital technologies, CEO Mark Little said on a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter results.

Little said the company is listening to investors as it aims to generate more free cash flow while keeping spending in check.

“Some of the concern we see from the investors is, ‘Wow, you’re going to plow $2 billion into Montreal, are you sure?’,” he said.

“We spent a lot of time thinking about that and running all the analysis and concluded that actually wasn’t the prudent investment for the shareholder.”

Suncor also elected to defer sanctioning of its proposed 40,000-barrel-per-day Meadow Creek oilsands project, which would produce bitumen from wells, until 2023 at the earliest, Little said.

Instead, it will invest in boosting production from its existing similar Firebag facility to nameplate capacity of 203,000 bpd by 2021 and then potentially add 20,000-30,000 bpd by 2024-25.

It also plans to build lower-emission co-generation units at its Base Plant this year and begin construction of a $300-million wind power project in southern Alberta.

The Calgary-based energy giant reported a net loss of $2.3 billion for quarter ended Dec. 31 due mainly to asset impairment charges of $3.3 billion.

That includes $2.8 billion due to lower forecast prices for heavy oil from its Fort Hills oilsands mine in northern Alberta and $393 million linked to higher capital cost estimates for the West White Rose expansion project off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, which is expected to begin producing oil in 2022.

Husky Energy Inc., which is the major owner and operator of the White Rose field, said its numbers align with those of Suncor.

“As indicated last year, we had some initial challenges with productivity at West White Rose, and we are now seeing good execution and are on track,” said Husky spokeswoman Kim Guttormson, who declined to give a detailed cost estimate for the expansion.

Suncor said it expects its share of production from the White Rose field will average about 8,700 bpd over its life and its share of future capital expenditures is about $1.4 billion.

Suncor shares fell by as much as 4.6% in early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, although it announced an 11% increase in its quarterly dividend and a $2-billion extension of its program to buy back shares.

Analysts said its production results were generally in line, but misses on its operating and capital costs in the quarter were slightly negative.

Little also announced Suncor will file an application in the current quarter for a project to extend its base oilsands mine to a new area when its current resource is depleted in about 2035.

The project represents one of many options and wouldn’t be officially approved for at least a decade, he stressed.

“We feel that filing in 2020 is prudent under the current regulatory process, including the effects of the new (federal) assessment act, to ensure adequate time is provided for the regulatory process,” he said.

“Should we choose to extend the mine, the plan is to incorporate non-aqueous extraction technology which significantly reduces the costs and environmental impacts of mining oilsands versus our current operations.”

Suncor reported its MacKay River oilsands project, which produces about 30,000 bpd from wells, was shut down following an operational problem in December and is not expected back to be back on line until after March.

The outage won’t affect 2020 guidance for the company, Little said, because the loss of barrels can be counted under Alberta’s ongoing oil production curtailment program.


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Fuel prices and Canadian dollar expected to show gains in 2020

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A spike in current and long-range gasoline pricing will come as no surprise to retailers and most Canadians. Expect the cost of fuels to rise at the dispenser as we move into 2020. These hikes happen due to four factors that determine the consumers’ price. Dispenser price is impacted by the cost of crude oil, the margins at the refinery, the cost to market fuel, and taxes. Here, key elements are the rising price of crude and—thanks to carbon pricing schemes—taxes are up as well.

Roger McKnight

Roger McKnight

According to market analyst Roger McKnight of En-Pro International, an Oshawa, Ont.-based consultancy, two key crude oil price factors will combine to bring up pump prices. McKnight points out that in West prices are determined by what is known as ‘Gyration of Crude’ a factor that takes into account world pricing, while the East is impacted by straight up market speculation. These forces will come together as the world faces another political challenge in the Middle East.

Already prices were on the rise thanks to the January 1 rollout of our Carbon Tax. The tax adds about 4.5 cents to each litre of gasoline. McKnight suggests that Canadians could see a spread of 18 cents between prices in Toronto and Calgary under these conditions, due largely to the lower tax burden in Alberta.

The cost of raw materials is also up. Currently Brent Crude is above (US)$70 a barrel up (US)$4 since last week. Prices have not been this high since September when drones took out some of Saudi Arabia’s Aramco capacity.

Retailers are reporting prices at fuel dispensers are up, too. This week, Vancouver stations are selling a litre of fuel for $1.41, with Calgary showing 0.99 cents (+2%) on dispensers. In Toronto, Montreal and Halifax, prices are also up, with Montreal hitting a high of $1.27.  Expect fuel prices to keep edging upward as world events ramp the challenges to routine shipments.

On the bright side, Canada is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer and as such our dollar is tightly wound with world crude pricing that is bought and sold in U.S. dollars.  Expectations are that, thanks to a resurgence in oil prices, the Canadian dollar will hit 82 cents U.S. sometime in 2021. When oil prices climb, the amount of U.S. dollars Canada earns on each barrel of oil it exports is high. Indeed, we export 96% of our oil output to the U.S. As such, the increase of U.S. dollars flowing north creates a rise in the value of the Canadian dollar. This increase in Canada’s dollar value means imported goods are less expensive. This can have a positive impact on the refining margin, where many of the products used to produce gas and diesel are purchased in U.S. funds.

One thing is for sure. Expect market volatility and crude price climbs over the next few months as world political conditions remain in flux.


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Cenovus boosts oil output plans on Alberta move to curtailment relief for rail

Cenovus Energy Inc. says it will add as much as 70,000 barrels per day of oilsands output following the Alberta government’s decision to ease production curtailments for producers that add crude-by-rail capacity.

The company can quickly add 10,000 to 20,000 bpd of raw bitumen output from its Christina Lake and Foster Creek northeastern Alberta thermal oilsands projects, said CEO Alex Pourbaix during a conference call Oct. 31 after the decision was announced.

Meanwhile, it plans to begin startup procedures on its $675-million, 50,000-barrel-per-day Christina Lake phase G oilsands expansion project with production expected within six to 12 months.

Construction of the expansion was completed earlier this year but commissioning was put on hold until market access questions were answered.

“We think it’s a great way to incent further rail takeway capacity out of Alberta and we applaud the government for moving forward with this initiative,” said Pourbaix.

He added the move doesn’t remove the necessity of building more oil export pipelines.

Under the previous NDP government, Alberta put a cap on the amount of oil the industry can produce starting in January as a way to narrow local price discounts that grew as oil production exceeded the ability of pipelines to get the crude to market.

The measure was continued by the United Conservative government when it was elected last spring. The total industry quota is to increase to 3.81 million barrels per day in December, up 250,000 bpd from the original limit of 3.56 million barrels a day.

“Overall, we believe this program will be an important addition to the efforts to increase market access,” said Energy Minister Sonya Savage. “Looking ahead, maximizing the amount of crude shipped by rail is an important factor in moving forward towards an orderly exit out of curtailment altogether, which, under the enhanced policy, is scheduled to be concluded by the end of December 2020.”

Alberta currently ships around 310,000 barrels per day on rail, she said, but the rail system has the capacity for daily shipments of 500,000 to 600,000 barrels.

The new program is to be available as of Dec. 1 and operators will need to apply on a monthly basis and verify their rail shipments.

The province is still working on a plan to divest railcar contracts signed by the NDP government, Savage said.

Suncor Energy Inc. CEO Mark Little also welcomed the Alberta initiative, which had been requested by several oilsands producers earlier this year.

“I think this is a very positive development because the whole purpose of curtailment was to reduce production to align with the takeaway capacity,” he said during a conference call Oct. 31.

“But I think we all know that ever since that was implemented, the takeaway capacity in Western Canada has declined, which is the exact opposite of what you want to happen when you have excess production.”

Between 200,000 and 300,000 bpd of additional rail could be brought to market to accompany about 200,000 bpd of incremental pipeline capacity additions, Little said.

He added Suncor will work to fill its currently contracted capacity of 30,000 bpd on rail “in the next month or two.”

In third-quarter results released last week afternoon, Suncor cut its production guidance for 2019 to a mid-point of 785,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, down from 800,000 boe/d, in part because of curtailments that have been in place for longer than anticipated.

In addition, Husky Energy Inc. CEO Rob Peabody said his company was directing most of its spending to regions other than in Alberta because of the curtailments.


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Major oil company plans 7 wells in Alaska petroleum reserve

A major oil company will drill seven new exploratory wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

ConocoPhillips is planning the work for this winter, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported .

The wells will be focused on the prospective Harpoon area southwest of the company’s existing projects in the reserve, ConocoPhillips Alaska Vice-President Scott Jepsen said during a presentation last week to the Alaska Support Industry Alliance. The wells will better delineate the large Willow prospect.

“We want to get more confidence around the geology and reservoir characteristics of the field, so that’s one of the reasons we pushed back our startup date to around 2025-2026 now for the Willow development,” Jepsen said.

ConocoPhillips announced the Willow discovery in early 2017. The company estimates it could produce 130,000 barrels per day at its peak.

Other company plans call for shooting three-dimensional seismic data around the Putu prospect near the village of Nuiqsut. The work will require about 165 miles (265 kilometres) of ice roads, Jepsen said.

“Hopefully the weather will co-operate and we’ll be able to accomplish all this,” he said.

ConocoPhillips in June announced purchase of the Nuna project from Dallas-based independent Caelus Energy. Caelus sanctioned Nuna in March 2105 and indicated that it had authorized $480 million of expenditures on the project to that point. Caelus estimated up to 20,000 barrels per day from the project.

Jepsen said Nuna will be part of the Kuparuk River Unit and its oil will be processed through Kuparuk facilities, lowering development cost. Drilling will be done from the Nuna pad and a Kuparuk pad to minimize new infrastructure costs.

The company expects 400 labourers over one winter construction season will be able to prep the project for first production in 2022.

 


UK, France Germany blame Iran for Saudi oil attacks

Britain, France and Germany joined the United States on Monday in blaming Iran for attacks on key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, but the Iranian foreign minister pointed to claims of responsibility by Yemeni rebels and said: “If Iran were behind this attack, nothing would have been left of this refinery.”

Fallout from the Sept. 14 attacks is still reverberating as world leaders gather for their annual meeting at the U.N. General Assembly and international experts investigate, at Saudi Arabia’s request, what happened and who was responsible.

The leaders of the United Kingdom, France and Germany released a statement reaffirming their support for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the U.S. exited, but telling Iran to stop breaching it and saying “there is no other plausible explanation” than that “Iran bears responsibility for this attack.”

They pledged to try to ease tensions in the Middle East and urged Iran to “refrain from choosing provocation and escalation.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said late Sunday while flying to New York that the U.K. would consider taking part in a U.S.-led military effort to bolster Saudi Arabia’s defences after the drone and cruise missile attacks on the world’s largest oil processor and an oil field.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, denied any part in the attacks. He said Monday that Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who claimed responsibility, “have every reason to retaliate” for the Saudi-led coalition’s aerial attacks on their country.

He also stressed that on the eve of President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to the United Nations in New York City “it would be stupid for Iran to engage in such activity.”

Zarif called it an attack “with high precision, low impact” and no casualties. In the refinery, there were facilities that would have taken the Saudis a year to repair, he said. “Why did they hit the lowest impact places?” Zarif asked, saying if Iran was responsible, the refinery would have been destroyed.

France has been trying to find a diplomatic solution to U.S.-Iranian tensions, which soared after the Saudi attacks, and has carefully avoided assigning blame.

Earlier on his way to New York, French President Emmanuel Macron said he remained “cautious” about attributing responsibility for the attacks. There was no immediate explanation of why he later shifted positions and blamed Iran.

Macron said at a U.N. news conference not long before the statement was issued that he planned to meet separately with both Trump and Rouhani over the next day and would work to foster “the conditions for discussion” and not escalation.

Macron called the Sept. 14 strikes “a game-changer, clearly” but reiterated France’s willingness to mediate.

Zarif, however, ruled out any Iran-U.S. meeting. He said Iran had received no request from the U.S., “and we have made clear that a request alone will not do the job.”

He said Trump “closed the door to negotiations” with the latest U.S. sanctions, which labeled the country’s central bank a “global terrorist” institution – a designation the Iranian minister said the U.S. president and his successors may not be able to change.

“I know that President Trump did not want to do that. I know he must have been misinformed,” Zarif said in a meeting with U.N. correspondents.

Zarif said he plans to meet Sept. 25 with ministers of all five countries remaining in the 2015 nuclear deal from which Trump withdrew, including Russia and China.

Johnson, the U.K. prime minister, said Britain still backs the existing nuclear agreement and wants Iran to stick to its terms but urged Trump to strike a new deal with Iran.

“Whatever your objections with the old nuclear deal with Iran, it’s time now to move forward and do a new deal,” he said.

Asked about Johnson’s suggestion, Trump said he respects the British leader and believes the current agreement expires too soon.

The joint U.K., France, Germany statement urges Iran to reverse its rollback on key provisions in the 2015 nuclear deal and calls for a new agreement.

“The time has come for Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear program as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles program and other means of delivery,” the three countries said.

Shortly before leaving for the U.N. meetings Monday, Iran’s Rouhani said on state television that his country will invite Persian Gulf nations to join an Iranian-led coalition “to guarantee the region’s security.”

Rouhani said the plan also encompasses economic co-operation and an initiative for “long term” peace. He planned on presenting details while at the United Nations.

Zarif said the new Hormuz Peace Initiative – with the acronym HOPE – would be formed under a U.N. umbrella with two underlying principles: nonaggression and noninterference. He said it would require a major shift from countries “buying” security from other nations or mercenaries and instead promote the notion that “you can gain security relying on your own people and working with your neighbours.”

Johnson said he would meet Rouhani at this week’s U.N. gathering. He said he wanted Britain to be “a bridge between our European friends and the Americans when it comes to the crisis in the Gulf.”

Johnson stressed the need for a diplomatic response to the Gulf tensions but said Britain would consider any request for military help.

The Trump administration announced Friday that it would send additional U.S. troops and missile defence equipment to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as part of a “defensive” deployment. Officials said the number of troops was likely to be in the hundreds.

“We will be following that very closely,” Johnson said. “And clearly if we are asked, either by the Saudis or by the Americans, to have a role, then we will consider in what way we could be useful.”

A U.K. official told The Associated Press that a claim of responsibility for the attacks by Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen was “implausible.” He said remnants of Iran-made cruise missiles were found at the attack site, and “the sophistication points very, very firmly to Iranian involvement.”

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence findings, did not say whether Britain believed the attack was launched from Iranian soil. Iran denies responsibility and has warned any retaliatory attack targeting it will result in an “all-out war.”

Meanwhile Monday, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei suggested the release of a British-flagged oil tanker held by Tehran since July would be imminent, though he doesn’t know when it will leave.

The Stena Impero has not turned on its satellite-tracking beacon in 58 days and there has not been any sign that it has left its position near Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized the vessel after authorities in Gibraltar seized an Iranian crude oil tanker. That ship has since left Gibraltar, leading to hopes the Stena Impero would be released.