RIYADH – The weapons used to strike Saudi oil facilities were Iranian-made, the Riyadh-led coalition said Monday, heightening fears of regional conflict after the U.S. hinted at a military response to the assault. The weekend strikes on Abqaiq -- the world's largest oil processing facility -- and the Khurais oil field in eastern Saudi Arabia have roiled global energy markets sending prices spiking Monday. Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the strikes but Washington has squarely blamed Iran, with President Donald Trump saying the U.S. is "locked and loaded" to respond. Saudi's energy infrastructure has been hit before, but this strike was of a different order, abruptly halting 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd), or about 6 percent of the world's oil supply. The Saudi-led coalition, which is bogged down in a five-year war in neighboring Yemen, reiterated the assessment that the Houthis were not behind it, pointing the finger at Iran for providing the weapons.
Emergency workers battled on Sunday to contain an oil spill near a joint Kuwaiti-Saudi oilfield in the Gulf. No official reports were available on the source or size of the leak in the waters off Kuwait's southern coast, near the joint Kuwaiti-Saudi offshore Al-Khafji oilfield. "Emergency oil teams are still struggling to put an oil spill near Kuwait's southern Ras Al-Zour area under control," said Kuwait Petroleum Corporation spokesman Talal al-Khaled in a statement carried by the official KUNA news agency. Kuwaiti media quoted local oil experts as saying the spill originated from an old 50-km pipeline from Al-Khafji. They estimated as many as 35,000 barrels of crude oil may have leaked into the waters off Al-Zour, where Kuwait is building a massive $30bn oil complex that includes a 615,000-barrel-per-day refinery.
The attack comes after Iran exceeded their enriched uranium stockpile limit in the nuclear deal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the international community to join him Saturday in condemning Iran for drone attacks on two Saudi oil facilities, which he described as "an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply." "Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while [President Hassan] Rouhani and [Foreign Minister Mohammad] Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy," Pompeo tweeted, referring to the nation's president and foreign affairs minister. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen." Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack hours before Pompeo's tweet. The world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field were impacted, sparking huge fires at a vulnerable chokepoint for global energy supplies. "The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression," Pompeo concluded. According to multiple news reports that cited unidentified sources, 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. It remained unclear if anyone was injured at the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, denounced Pompeo's description of the attack, calling it an "irresponsible simplification." "The Saudis and Houthis are at war.
Tehran says it is now ready now to fight a full-fledged war with the U.S.; Benjamin Hall reports from Jerusalem. It has been more than three days since Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure was crippled and, as the investigation continues, fingers are pointing toward Iran as not only the perpetrator, but also the launch territory. U.S. officials told Fox News on Tuesday that Iranian cruise missiles and drones were both used in the attack on the two Saudi Arabian oil facilities, and that they were fired from inside southwest Iran. The Saudi Arabian oil facilities attacked from Iran are located across the Persian Gulf, an area where Saudi forces had largely not protected with air defense systems, the official said. Not all the Iran weapons hit their target in Saudi Arabia.
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Yemen's Houthi movement launched drone attacks on oil facilities in a remote area of Saudi Arabia, the group's Al Masirah TV said Saturday, but there was no immediate confirmation from Saudi authorities or state oil giant Aramco. A Saudi-led coalition is battling the Iran-aligned Houthis to try to restore Yemen's government, which was ousted from power in the capital, Sanaa, by the group in late 2014. The war has been in military stalemate for years. The Houthis have stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent months. "Ten drones targeted Aramco's Shaybah oilfield and refinery in the first Operation: Balance of Deterrence in the east of the kingdom," the Al Masirah channel reported, citing a Houthi military spokesman.