Before dawn on Saturday, Iranian proxy forces attacked the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, disrupting half the kingdom’s production, informed sources report.
Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthi group claimed responsibility for drone attacks at two separate Saudi Arabian oil production facilities early this morning. The attacks occurred around 4:00 a.m. local time. No casualties have been reported yet, but one of the targets was “the world’s biggest petroleum processing facility,” and it took some serious damage.
Saudi Arabia’s leaders in Riyadh have long accused Iran of arming the Houthis. Early this morning drones were used to attack two Aramco plants, igniting a blazing inferno that lit up the sky. Just a few hours later, officials in Saudi Arabia announced they have the fires under control, but there was serious damage. Reuters notes “bright flames and thick plumes of smoke rising toward the dark pre-dawn sky.”
Reuters quotes “three sources close to the matter” who informed them that “oil production and exports had been disrupted.” According to Reuters, “one source said 5 million barrels per day of crude production had been impacted,” noting that was “close to half the kingdom’s output.”
The most significant attack was on the facility at Abqaiq. The Aramco plant processes crude oil from “the world’s largest conventional oilfield, the supergiant Ghawar.” They then pump the oil to terminals for export at Ras Tanura and Juaymah.
The facility at Ras Tanura is the worlds biggest offshore loading point. Abqaiq also pumps oil west across the desert to terminals along the Red Sea.
The second target, Khurais, sits on the country’s second largest oilfield. A Houthis military spokesman didn’t provide much detail but claimed, “the attacks hit refineries at both sites.”
U.S. Ambassador John Abizaid issued a statement saying “These attacks against critical infrastructure endanger civilians, are unacceptable, and sooner or later will result in innocent lives being lost.”
In retaliation, a Saudi-led coalition conducted air strikes on Yemen’s Saada province, reportedly a Houthi “stronghold.” According to Houthi-run al Masirah TV, “the warplanes targeted a military camp north of Saada city.”
Iran was all smiles when they heard the news. Qassem Soleimani, chief of Iran’s elite Quds Force, “praised the Houthis for their resistance in a Twitter post that included the hashtag Aramco.”
Riyadh’s biggest ally in the region, the United Arab Emirates, issued a statement confirming “that it supported any measures by the kingdom to safeguard its security following Saturday’s ‘terrorist and subversive’ assault.”
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