Attacks on Saudi oil facilities knock out half the kingdom’s supply – World

Yemen's Houthi group, aligned with Iran, said it attacked two plants in the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry on Saturday, destroying more than half of the Kingdom's production, to a degree that is expected to raise the prices of oil and increase tensions in the Middle East.

The attacks will reduce the kingdom's production by 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd), according to a statement from state oil company Saudi Aramco, or more than 5{7be40b84a6a43fc4fae13304fce9a2695859798abfc41afd127b9f8b21c5f9c5} of the world's oil supply.

Pre-dawn attacks follow previous cross-border attacks against Saudi oil facilities and oil tankers in Gulf waters, but these were the most brazen so far, temporarily paralyzing much of the nation's production capacity. Saudi Arabia is the world's largest exporter, sending more than 7 million barrels of oil to global destinations every day, and for years it has been the provider of last resort for the markets.

While the Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo directly blamed Iran and wrote on Twitter that "there was no evidence that the attacks came from Yemen."

"In the midst of all calls for scale reduction, Iran has launched an unprecedented attack against the world's energy supply," Pompeo said.

Saudi de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, told the president of the United States, Donald Trump, by telephone that Riyadh had the will and ability to "confront and confront this terrorist aggression," according to the news agency Saudi SPA.

The United States condemned the attacks and Trump told the crown prince that Washington was ready to work with the kingdom to ensure its safety, according to the White House. The United States Department of Energy also said it was ready to release oil from its strategic oil reserve if necessary. Energy Secretary Rick Perry also said his department would work with the International Energy Agency, which coordinates the energy policies of industrialized nations, if global action is needed.

Saudi Arabia, leading a Muslim coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 against the Houthis, blamed its regional rival Iran for the previous attacks, which Tehran denies. Riyadh accuses Iran of arming the Houthis, a charge denied by the group and Tehran.

The coalition spokesman, Colonel Turki al-Malki, said an investigation into who planned and executed the attacks had begun. He said the West-backed alliance would counter threats to global energy security and economic stability.

Aramco's chief executive, Amin Nasser, said there were no victims of the attacks.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Aramco would have more information within 48 hours and will extract stored oil to compensate for the loss. Aramco is in the process of planning what is expected to be the largest initial public offering in the world.

Heart of the oil market

"Abqaiq is perhaps the most critical facility in the world for oil supply," said Jason Bordoff, who heads the Global Energy Policy Center at Columbia University and served on the United States National Security Council during Barack's presidency. Obama "The risk of a regional eye-to-eye escalation that pushes oil prices even higher has increased significantly."

Abqaiq is 60 km (37 miles) southwest of Aramco headquarters in Dhahran. The oil processing plant handles the crude oil from the world's largest conventional oil field, the Ghawar supergiant, and for export to Ras Tanura terminals, the world's largest offshore oil cargo facility, and Juaymah. It also pumps westward across the kingdom to the Red Sea export terminals.

Two of the sources said Ghawar was burning gas after the attacks interrupted the gas processing facilities. Khurais, 190 km (118 miles) to the southwest, contains the second largest oil field in the country.

"These attacks on critical infrastructure endanger civilians, are unacceptable and will sooner or later result in the loss of innocent lives," Ambassador John Abizaid said in a Twitter post.

Andrew Murrison, a British foreign minister, called on Houthis to stop threatening civilian areas and Saudi commercial infrastructure.

It was the last of a series of attacks with Houthi missiles and drones in Saudi cities that had been largely intercepted, but recently achieved targets, including the Shaybah oil field last month and the oil pumping stations in May. Both attacks caused fires but did not interrupt production.

“This is a relatively new situation for the Saudis. For a long time, they have never had any real fear that their oil facilities would be attacked from the air, "Kamran Bokhari, founding director of the Washington-based Global Policy Center, told Reuters.

The CEO of Aramco said in a statement that the situation had been controlled. A Reuters The witness said the fire in Abqaiq seemed to have been extinguished by nightfall.

Rising tensions

Regional tensions have escalated after Washington resigned from an international nuclear agreement and extended sanctions to Iran.

Violence is complicating UN-led peace efforts to end the Yemen war, which killed tens of thousands and led millions to the brink of famine. The conflict is widely seen as a power war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The coalition intervened in Yemen after the internationally recognized government was overthrown from power in Sanaa by the Houthis, who say they are fighting a corrupt system.

The coalition launched air strikes on Saada province in northern Yemen on Saturday, a Houthi stronghold. Reuters witness said. Houthi-al-Masirah television said a military camp was attacked.

The Houthi military spokesman, without providing evidence, said the drones hit the refineries at both Saudi sites, which are more than 1,000 km (621 miles) from the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and promised an extension of the attacks against Saudi Arabia.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here