Considering what this is doing to the price per barrel of gasoline, and the potential plot twists where this could wind up down the road, a separate thread is warranted.

The US military on Friday released a video it said shows Iran's Revolutionary Guards removing an unexploded mine from one of the oil tankers targeted in the Gulf of Oman. Tehran denied involvement, accusing the US of waging an "Iranophobic campaign".

Shortly after the crews of the two tankers attacked this week in the Gulf of Oman evacuated their stricken vessels, the ships that rescued them were surrounded by Iranian military boats and told to transfer the mariners into their custody, according to declassified U.S. intelligence reports obtained on Friday by CBS News.

One of the civilian rescue ships eventually complied with the Iranian military's request. The other did not. The new details help to paint a picture of what happened Thursday in the Gulf, near the vital shipping channel of the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a third of the world's oil supply passes.

The Japanese owner of a tanker attacked in the Gulf of Oman claimed Friday that it was struck by a flying projectile, contradicting reports by U.S. officials and the military on the source of the blast.
"We received reports that something flew towards the ship," said Yutaka Katada, president of Kokaku Sangyo Co. at a press conference. "The place where the projectile landed was significantly higher than the water level, so we are absolutely sure that this wasn’t a torpedo. I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship."


(Bloomberg) -- A group of hackers that shut down a Saudi Arabian oil and natural gas facility in 2017 is now targeting electric utilities, according to the cybersecurity company Dragos Inc.

The group, Xenotime, has been probing utilities in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific regions since late 2018, Hanover, Maryland-based Dragos said in a blog post Friday. They’ve focused mostly on electronic control systems that manage the operations at industrial sites, Dragos said.

U.S. officials have long warned grids are acutely vulnerable to cyber attacks. Disrupting a region’s electrical infrastructure could cause widespread chaos, triggering blackouts and crippling financial markets, transportation systems and more.

Dragos has shied away from naming any country that might be behind Xenotime's attacks. Despite initial speculation that Iran was responsible for the Triton attack on Saudi Arabia, security firm FireEye in 2018 pointed to forensic links between the Petro Rabigh attack and a Moscow research institute, the Central Scientific Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics. If Xenotime is in fact a Russian or Russia-sponsored group, they would be far from the only Russian hackers to target the grid. The Russian hacker group known as Sandworm is believed to be responsible for attacks on Ukrainian electric utilities in 2015 and 2016 that cut power to hundreds of thousands of people, the only blackouts confirmed to have been triggered by hackers. And last year the Department of Homeland Security warned that a Russian group known as Palmetto Fusion or Dragonfly 2.0 had gained access to the actual control systems of American power utilities, bringing them much closer to causing a blackout than Xenotime has gotten thus far.

Stay tuned. This sounds like it's going to get stupid.