10-drone attack set fire to Saudi largest refinery and one of country's largest oilfields early on Saturday (14)
Yemen Rebels Hit Largest Saudi Refinery With Drones
Two of Saudi Arabia's largest oil installations were attacked and went up in flames early Saturday, threatening the country's fuel production. Yemeni Houthi rebels took responsibility for the bombing, which they say was executed with 10 drones.
The refineries hit are in the Khurais and Abqaiq districts, about 800 km from the Yemeni border, which has been experiencing a civil war since 2014. Iranian-backed Houthi are fighting against the central government that is funded by Saudi Arabia and other Arab League countries.
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Abqaiq is the largest oil refinery in the country and Khurais is one of the country's main extraction fields. According to a source heard by Reuters, the impact on Saudi oil production could reach 5 million barrels a day, about half of the total.
State television Ekhbariya said exports continue, although the facility's owner Aramco has not yet spoken since the attack. The country's authorities have not yet said whether oil production or exports will be affected. No news about victims yet.
Abqaiq refines crude oil from the world's largest conventional oil field, supergiant Ghawar, and is where exports to Ras Tanura – the world's largest offshore oil loading facility – and Juaymah depart. It also pumps west across the kingdom to the Red Sea export terminals.
Two sources said Ghawar was burning gases after the attacks hit gas processing facilities. Khurais, 190 km away, has the second largest oil field in the country.
This Saturday's attack was the latest in a series of Houthi missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities, most of which were intercepted.
Recently, the Houthi managed to reach Shaybah oil field last month and oil pumping stations in May. Both attacks caused fires but did not stop production.
"It's a relatively new situation for the Saudis. For a long time, they have never been really afraid that their oil facilities would be hit by air," Washington-based founding director of the Global Policy Center, Kamran Bokhari, told Reuters. .
Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry said Aramco's industrial security teams had worked to contain the fire since 4 am and were able to control it.
The Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes on Houthi-controlled northern Yemen's Saada province on Saturday. Houthi-controlled Masirah TV said warplanes wanted to hit a military camp.
. (tagsToTranslate) Saudi Arabia (t) Yemen (t) Refineries (t) Drones