26 January 2020

Drone attacks on Saudi plant could hit global oil supplies

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Global supplies of oil are likely to suffer a “major jolt” following Saturday’s attack by a swarm of explosive drones on the world’s biggest oil processing plant in Saudia Arabia. reports citing foreign media.

Major fires engulfed the Abqaiq processing facility and the Khurais oil field after the attack, for which Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility. They said they launched 10 drones with “intelligence cooperation from people inside Saudi Arabia”, according to the rebel-run Saba news agency. The rebels’ spokesman Yahya Saree said their operations “will expand and would be more painful as long as the Saudi regime continues its aggression and blockade” on Yemen, he said.The fires are now under control at both facilities, Saudi state media said.

Saudi Arabia’s oil fields and pipeline have been the target of rebel attacks over the past year, often using single drones, but analysts said this appeared to be the biggest and most successful to date.

The attack has raised tensions in the Persian Gulf. Houthi rebels are assisted by Iran, which has developed sophisticated drones. But US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said last night there was no evidence the strike came from Yemen and accused Iran of launching an “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply”.

Abqaiq, run by state-owned firm Aramco, is described as the world’s most important processing centre, where crude from several of the country’s largest oil fields is sent before being shipped for export.

The attack reduced production by five million barrels a day – nearly half the kingdom’s output and 5% of global production – according to unnamed Saudi oil ministry sources quoted by the Reuters news agency last night. The reduction will go on for at least 48 hours reports said.

2019.09.15 / 19:52
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