BREAKING: Huge Fires, Smoke Plumes After Drone Attack on Saudi Oil Fields Claimed by Yemen’s Houthis

As Houthi reach grows longer there's no escaping their wrath

Saudis claim the fires “controlled” now, but not letting reporters near, remains to be seen if there are supply disruptions as a major oil field, and Aramco’s largest processing plant were hit. Attack also frustrates MBS’ ambition to raise $100 billion by selling 5 percent of Aramco in a shares sale

Drone attacks sparked fires at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities on Saturday, the interior ministry said, the latest such assault claimed by Yemeni rebels as the energy giant prepares for a much-anticipated stock listing.

Huge palls of smoke rose into the sky after the pre-dawn attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two major Aramco facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia, which follow a spike in regional tensions with Iran.

The attacks highlight how the increasingly advanced weaponry of the Iran-linked Huthi rebels — from ballistic missiles to unmanned drones — poses a serious threat to oil installations in Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter.

“At 4:00 am (0100 GMT) the industrial security teams of Aramco started dealing with fires at two of its facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais as a result of… drones,” the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

“The two fires have been controlled.” [As opposed to exinguished.]

The statement added that an investigation had been launched after the attack in the kingdom’s Eastern Province, but did not specify whether operations at the two facilities had been affected.

Interior ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki told AFP there were no casualties.

But the full extent of the damage was not immediately clear as reporters were not allowed near the plants where Saudi authorities appeared to have beefed up security.

In recent months, the Huthi rebels have carried out a spate of cross-border missile and drone attacks targeting Saudi air bases and other facilities in what they say is retaliation for a long-running Saudi-led bombing campaign on rebel-held areas in Yemen.

The rebels launched “a large-scale operation involving 10 drones that targeted refineries in Abqaiq and Khurais in eastern Saudi Arabia”, the group’s Al-Masirah television reported.

Last month, an attack claimed by Huthi rebels sparked a fire at Aramco’s Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility — close to the Emirati border — but no casualties were reported by the company.

Rebel drones also targeted two oil pumping stations on Saudi Arabia’s key east-west pipeline in May, shutting it down for several days.

– Rebel threat –

The growing attacks underscore how Saudi infrastructure, including oil installations, are increasingly vulnerable to rebel attacks four years after a Saudi-led coalition launched a military intervention in Yemen.

The Abqaiq facility, 60 kilometres (37 miles) southwest of Aramco’s Dhahran headquarters, is home to the company’s largest oil processing plant.

Khurais, 250 kilometres from Dhahran, hosts a major Aramco oil field.

“Depending on the extent of the damage and any outages, Aramco will use its contingency plans by tapping into its storage if necessary,” Samir Madani, co-founder of shipping monitoring website Tanker Trackers, told AFP.

“The Saudis are using language in their statements to assure customers that the fires are under control. But there could be supply disruptions if the damage at Abqaiq is extensive.”

The Abqaiq plant, which Aramco says plays a “pivotal role” in its operations, has been targeted by militants in the past.

In an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda in February 2006, suicide bombers with explosive-laden vehicles attempted to penetrate the processing plant, killing two security guards.

The two bombers also died in the attack, which failed to breach the compound, authorities reported at the time.

In 2014, a Saudi court sentenced a man to death for links to the 2006 attack. Two other Saudis were jailed for 33 and 27 years respectively, state media reported.

– Aramco IPO –

Riyadh had reportedly hoped for a quick win against the Huthis, but instead waded into a quagmire that has cost it billions of dollars and tarnished its reputation, while devastating the Arab world’s poorest country.

Tensions in the Gulf have further soared since May, with US President Donald Trump calling off air strikes against Iran at the last minute in June after it downed a US drone.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have also blamed Iran for multiple attacks on tankers in the Gulf.

The latest attacks come as Saudi Arabia accelerates preparations for a much-anticipated initial public offering of Aramco, the world’s most profitable company.

The mammoth IPO forms the cornerstone of a reform programme envisaged by the kingdom’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a son of King Salman, to wean the Saudi economy off its reliance on oil.

Aramco is ready for a two-stage stock market debut including an international listing “very soon”, its CEO Amin Nasser told reporters on Tuesday.

Source: AFP

  1. Leon Vermeulen says

    BIG mistake to buy US Patriot system; should have been Russia’s S400. Turkey and India will have a smile on their collective face!

  2. chris chuba says

    I love seeing that long pipeline going east to west accross the KSA. Even if the Saudis find a way to harden some targets there is no way they will be able to protect everything. Burn baby burn. It’s only oil, it’s only money, Pompeo is crying over that, not the Yemenis the Saudis have killed for 4yrs by bombing and starvation.

    1. David Bedford says

      Very true, some people’s priorities are messed up.

  3. JustPassingThrough says

    Another interesting piece of news in line with the above article:

    Israeli Attacks On Syria Halted After Russia Threatened To Shoot Down Jets

    1. thomas malthaus says

      At times I think Mr. Putin is too trusting or wants to trust everyone he meets.
      The US and Israel have a negative track record.

      Netanyahu won’t get the message until Israeli fighters drop like flies.

      1. JustPassingThrough says

        maybe playing the long game.
        khazaria near the dead sea will never get to be 100 yrs old.

  4. thomas malthaus says

    Looks like the Houthis are taking a page out of Israel’s and US’ playbook: Destroy infrastructure or masses of people and then repeat the missile strikes shortly after first responders appear.

    What will M(BS) do? Fake story designed to increase oil prices?

  5. John C Carleton says

    Karma is a vindictive bitc#.

  6. ArcAngel says

    Glad I came back, as this report seems to be updated from yesterday, with some new videos.
    I really do despise that idiotic Madison Avenue word “rebel”.
    Now that I got that off my chest.
    As to the recent actions by the Yemeni Houthis, what can one say, BRAVO!
    The demonic psychopathic House of Saud has been terrorizing that part of the world for 70 years, and their bloodlust War with Yemen has been nothing short of disgusting vile demonic insanity. Slaughtering civilians seem to be sport for the anti-Human EL-ites.
    Time for some payback/”blowback”
    I pray for the day that these evil entities are turned into ash. House of Saud, Tel Aviv, NYNY (Fed-UN), WARshington, The City, Brussels…

    From ‘Nasser’
    “…..Now residents are evacuating the city
    It has the largest community of Americans and Westerners”.
    How wonderful for them. Hope they enjoy the smoke.

    The Houthis, getting external support, has been the ‘game changer’, and I think EVERYDODY can see it, even the Saudis, but since they are completely psychopathic, I believe the psychos will double down, and continue with the slaughter.
    Eventually the Oil Industry (London) will step in and will then try to “reshuffle the deckchairs on the Titanic”.
    Failing that, the EL-ites will then come up with a different tactic to steal more resources and slaughter the local population.
    fuc Aramaco, the House of Saud, and the London Oil Exchange.

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