Washington / Paris (dpa) - Following drone strikes on the largest oil refinery in Saudi Arabia, the US is ready to free up oil reserves in the event of bottlenecks. This could be counteracted any disruptions of the oil markets, said a spokeswoman for the US Department of Energy.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry has instructed his ministry leadership to work with the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris in this regard. According to ministry information, US strategic oil reserves total 630 million barrels.

The IEA had initially seen no supply problems. For now, the markets are well supplied with plenty of commercial stocks, said the IEA based in Paris. "We are in contact with the Saudi authorities and the most important producer and consumer nations." Follow the situation in Saudi Arabia closely.

The largest oil refinery in Saudi Arabia had been attacked with drones over the weekend. The attacks have led, according to official information from Riyadh, to a slump in production.

The oil production had decreased by 5.7 million barrels to about half of the usual volume as a result of "terrorist attacks", said the Saudi state news agency SPA, citing Energy Minister Prince Abdulasis bin Salman bin Abdulasis. However, this is only a temporary effect, which is partly compensated for by the supply of existing oil reserves in the market.

The drone attacks had triggered fires in two refinery complexes of the state oil company Saudi Aramco in Abkaik and Churais early Saturday morning. The attacks were known by the Houthi rebels from neighboring Yemen. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran directly for the attacks.

Communication from the Ministry of Energy

Message Saudi Aramco

SPA report