Drone attacks claimed Yemen rebels shut down one of Saudi Arabia’s major oil pipelines Tuesday, further ratcheting up Gulf tensions.
This news follows two Saudi Arabian oil tankers suffered significant damage in an attack over the weekend near the Strait of Hormuz. As a result, all major pipelines in the region have temporarily been shut down.
Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said Saudi Aramco had “temporarily shut down” the pipeline to “evaluate its condition” but added that oil production and exports had not been interrupted.
Energy experts said twin attacks on Gulf energy facilities were likely coordinated. Tuesday’s drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities were described by Khalid Al-Falih, the energy minister, as “an act of terrorism and sabotage.”
The early-morning attack, the second this week in the Gulf, was carried out on two pumping stations operated by Saudi Aramco. The Energy Ministry said that one pumping station had been shut down because of fire while evaluation was underway to assess its condition, but said that “Saudi oil production has not been interrupted.”
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter and OPEC kingpin, said two pumping stations had been targeted early Tuesday.
They lie on the East-West Pipeline, able to pump five million barrels of oil a day from oil-rich Eastern Province to a Red Sea port.
The announcement came hours after Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they had targeted vital installations in Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition against them.
There was a jump in the price of oil when the attack.
Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam tweeted that the attacks were “a response to the aggressors continuing to commit genocide” against Yemenis.
In a statement, the Houthis warned of other “unique operations … if the aggressors continue with their crimes and blockade”.
“We are capable of executing unique operations on a bigger and wider scale in the hearts of the enemy countries.”
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