DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – The weekend drone attack on one of the world's largest crude oil processing plants that dramatically cut into global oil supplies is the most visible sign yet of how Aramco's stability and security is directly linked to that of its owner -- the Saudi government and its ruling family. The strikes, which U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed on Iran despite staunch denials by Tehran, led to suspension of more than 5 percent of the world's daily crude oil production, bringing into focus just how vulnerable the company is to Saudi Arabia's conflicts outside the country's borders, particularly with regional rival Iran. That matters greatly because Aramco produces and exports Saudi Arabia's more than 9.5 million barrels of oil per day to consumers around the world, primarily in Asia. It also comes as the state-owned company heads toward a partial public sale. To prepare for an initial public offering, the company has recently taken steps to distance itself from the Saudi government, which is controlled by the Al Saud ruling family.
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.
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.
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.
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration tried to balance diplomacy with fresh talk of military action Tuesday in response to the fiery missile and drone attack on the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry -- a strike marking the most explosive consequence yet of the "maximum pressure" U.S. economic campaign against Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was headed to Jiddah in Saudi Arabia to discuss possible responses to what U.S. officials believe was an attack coming from Iranian soil. President Donald Trump said he'd "prefer not" to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at next week's U.N. session but "I never rule anything out." Iran continued to deny involvement in last weekend's attack on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq oil processing plant and its Khurais oil field, a strike that interrupted the equivalent of about 5 percent of the world's daily supply. Saudi Arabia's energy minister said Tuesday that more than half of the country's daily crude oil production that was knocked out by the attack had been recovered and production capacity at the targeted plants would be fully restored by the end of the month.