Saudi Arabia says drones attacked oil facilities

Clay Curtis
September 19, 2019

It's also set to escalate a showdown pitting Saudi Arabia and the US against Iran, which backs proxy groups from Yemen to Iran and Lebanon.

The attacks, which Houthi commanders said featured 10 drones, follow earlier cross-border attacks on Saudi oil installations and on oil tankers in Gulf waters.

It contains the world's largest oil processing plant, handling crude from the giant Ghawar field and for export to terminals Ras Tanura - the world's biggest offshore oil loading facility - and Juaymah.

According to Reuters, state-run Aramco said the attack on September 14 has impacted the production of 5.7 million barrels of oil per day-half of Saudi Arabia's present output.

The Trump administration is prepared to tap USA emergency oil reserves if necessary after drone attacks shut oil output in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude exporter, a Department of Energy spokeswoman said.

Iran on Sunday rejected USA allegations that Tehran had carried out the drone attack at an oil field in Saudi Arabia, saying that Washington's maximum pressure strategy has turned into a strategy of "maximum lie" against the Islamic Republic.

Saudi Aramco, a Saudi Arabian national petroleum company, said in a statement that work is underway to restore production and a progress update will be provided in around 48 hours.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia reported the drone attacks, saying they had sparked fires, but did not say who was behind the assault.

Graham added, "It is now time for put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries if they continue their provocations or increase nuclear enrichment".

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Police had turned down the march permit, but the demonstrators were undeterred, as they have been all summer. He said police will step up enforcement, and that "everyone is a loser" with the persistent violence.

Saudi de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told US President Donald Trump by telephone that Riyadh had the will and capability "to confront and deal with this terrorist aggression", according to Saudi state news agency SPA.

The drone attacks affected up to half of the supplies from the world's largest exporter of oil, though the output should be restored within days, multiple news outlets reported, citing unidentified sources.

He tweeted: "Totally unacceptable attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia this morning".

The U.S., Western nations, their Gulf Arab allies and U.N. experts say Iran supplies the Houthis with weapons and drones, a charge that Tehran denies.

Pompeo, however, said on Twitter that there was no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.

The UK remains committed to supporting the security of Saudi Arabia and to achieving a political solution to the devastating conflict in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia says drones attacked two major oil facilities in the kingdom, sparking fires. It called Abqaiq, close to the eastern Saudi city of Dammam, "the most important oil facility in the world". In August, Houthi drones struck Saudi Arabia's Shaybah oil field.

Online videos apparently from the area of Buqyaq showed a massive blaze on the horizon, with what sounded like gunfire in the background.

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