Saudi Arabia: Drones attacked the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oilfield operated by Saudi Aramco early on Saturday, the kingdom’s interior ministry said, sparking a huge fire at a processor vital to global energy supplies.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks on Abqaiq and the Khurais oil field, but Yemen’s Houthi rebels have previously launched drone assaults deep inside of the kingdom.
It was unclear whether there were any injuries in the attacks, or whether they would affect the country’s oil production. They are, however, likely to heighten tensions in the region, where Saudi Arabia and Iran are effectively fighting a proxy war in Yemen, and Tehran is at loggerheads with Washington over the latter’s withdrawal from its nuclear deal with world powers.
Online videos apparently shot in Abqaiq included the sound of gunfire in the background. Smoke rose over the skyline and flames could be seen in the distance at the oil processing facility.
The fires began after the sites were targeted by drones, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. It said an investigation was underway.
Saudi Aramco describes its Abqaiq facility as the largest crude oil stabilisation plant in the world. The facility is thought to be able to process up to 7m barrels of crude a day.