DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oilfield operated by the state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco were attacked by drones early Saturday.
The kingdom’s Interior Ministry confirmed that the attack sparked a huge fire at a processing facility that is crucial to global energy supplies.
Authorities say it was not clear if anyone was injured in the attacks.
Further, officials indicated that it was too early to determine what effect it would have on oil production in Saudi Arabia.
There was no immediate impact on global oil prices as markets were closed for the weekend across the world.
Benchmark Brent crude had been trading at just above $60 a barrel.
Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attacks.
In a short address aired by the Houthi’s Al-Masirah satellite news channel, military spokesman Yahia Sarie said ten drones were launched in coordinated attack on the two sites.
He warned, too, that attacks by the rebels would only get worse if the war continues.
“The only option for the Saudi government is to stop attacking us,” Sarie said.
Saudi Aramco describes the oil processing facility in Buqyaq as “the largest crude oil stabilisation plant in the world.”
The facility processes sour crude oil into sweet crude before moving it to tarns-shipment points on the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.
Estimates indicate that it can process up to 7 million barrels of crude oil a day.
The Khurais oil field is believed to produce over 1 million barrels of crude oil per day and has estimated reserves of over 20 billion barrels of oil, according to Saudi Aramco.
Videos believed to have been recorded in Buqyaq and posted online included the sound of gunfire in the background.
“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 into the attack was underway.
The attacks will likely heighten tensions across the wider Persian Gulf amid a confrontation between the United States and Iran over its unravelling nuclear deal with world powers.
LINK ORIGINAL: Jamaica Gleaner