Iran-Backed Rebels Set Largest Oil Facility on Fire
Saudi Arabia: The world’s largest oil facility was set on fire Saturday morning by Iran-backed rebels using drones. Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for Aramco’s Abqaiq oil processing facility and Khurais oil field inferno. In response to the attacks, Saudi Arabia said it would cut its oil production in half.
The fires erupted after the attack at 4 a.m. on Saturday. The Saudis say the fire is “under control.”
The loss of oil amounts to about 5 million barrels per day, which according to Fox is roughly 5% of the world’s oil output.
Saudi Arabia and other members of OPEC had already cut their oil production, according to Bloomberg, just not by that much. The oil field reportedly produces one million barrels of crude per day. The plant is said to process up to 7 million barrels per day of “sour crude” into “sweet crude.” It is the world’s largest oil factory, producing 70% of the country’s crude oil (USA Today).
Several Americans are employed by Aramco, but are off site in a protected compound. The US Embassy in Riyadh said they were not aware of any American casualties. The US Ambassador strongly condemned the attack.
U.S. Ambassador John #Abizaid: “The U.S. strongly condemns today’s drone attacks against oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais. These attacks against critical infrastructure endanger civilians, are unacceptable, and sooner or later will result in innocent lives being lost.” pic.twitter.com/ZzDTNUz2Ik
— U.S. Mission to KSA (@USAinKSA) September 14, 2019
The Houthi rebels claimed responsibility, saying they launched 10 drones in a coordinated attack. The Al- Masirah media network of the Houthi rebels referred to the attack as a “balance operation.”
“#Armed_Forces_Spokesman: We promise the Saudi regime to expand our operations in future and to be more painful as long as its aggression and siege continue.” al-Masirah
Saudi Aramco has not issued a statement yet. They have called an emergency meeting to manage the crisis.
It’s not the first time Saudi oil has been targeted. In August, Houthi rebels launched an attack against Aramco’s Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility. No casualties were listed in that attack.
Yemen has nearly collapsed after its years long war with the Iran-backed rebels and Saudi Arabia. Human rights organizations say that 90,000 have been killed and the population pushed into famine. The Saudi-led coalition has targeted the Houthis since they staged a rebellion that forced out the leader of Yemen in 2015.
Featured photo: screenshot of oil factory and oil field fires via Fox