DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Drones attacked the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field operated by Saudi Aramco early Saturday, the kingdom's Interior Ministry said, sparking a huge fire at a processor crucial to global energy supplies. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks in Buqyaq and the Khurais oil field, though Yemen's Houthi rebels previously launched drone assaults deep inside of the kingdom. It wasn't clear if there were any injuries in the attacks, nor what effect it would have on oil production in the kingdom. The attack also likely will heighten tensions further across the wider Persian Gulf amid a confrontation between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers. Online videos apparently shot in Buqyaq included the sound of gunfire in the background.
Fixing the damage done by the drone attack on the Saudi oil processing plant may be the easy part. The hard part will be calming energy markets, where oil prices have jumped faster than at any time in over a decade. The attack on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq plant, which accounts for 5 percent of global oil supplies, and a nearby facility took 5.7 million barrels a day of production off line for at least a few days. It also revealed the significant danger that drones pose to the Persian Gulf's sprawling processing plants, pipelines and refineries. "The psyche has been altered," said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for Oil Price Information Service.
Saudi authorities attempt to control a fire at an Aramco factory. The world's largest oil processing facility and a nearby oil field in Saudi Arabia were set ablaze early Saturday morning after reported drone attacks by Iranian-backed Yemeni rebels. The Interior Ministry was quoted by state-run media as saying the fires at the Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq and the nearby Khurais oil field operated by Saudi Aramco were "targeted by drones." It wasn't immediately clear if there were any injuries, nor what effect it would have on oil production in the kingdom. Smoke is seen following a fire at Aramco facility in the eastern city of Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, September 14, 2019.
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.
"Data is the new oil" is one of those deceptively simple mantras for the modern world. Whether in The New York Times, The Economist, or WIRED, the wildcatting nature of oil exploration, plus the extractive exploitation of a trapped asset, seems like an apt metaphor for the boom in monetized data. Previously he worked on Facebook's early monetization team, where he headed its targeting efforts. His 2016 memoir, Chaos Monkeys, was a New York Times best seller and NPR Best Book of the Year. The metaphor has even assumed political implications.