Military and government spokespersons mentioned on Saturday that Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for drone attacks and reports of gunfire on the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia, who having Yemen’s Tehran-backed.
Videos emerged online Saturday morning, showing large fires at Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil processing plant, a hub for global energy supplies. Several international news wires report that it is still unclear if the Buqyaq and Khurais oil field attacks left anyone injured. The Iran government-backed Houthis claimed responsibility and will apply more international pressure on the increasingly strained relationship between the U.S. and Tehran.
The videos seem to include audio of gunfire as large flames and smoke emanating from the Saudi oil fields. Aramco’s industrial security teams informed Arab News they’ve controlled the Saturday blazes in addition to the spread of the fires, and an investigation on the incident is ongoing.
U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid issued a statement Saturday morning condemning the assaults: “The U.S. strongly condemns at the moment’s drone attacks towards oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais. These attacks against critical infrastructure endanger civilians, are unacceptable, and eventually will lead to innocent lives being lost.”
The Iranian government supports the Houthi rebels amid a Saudi-led war towards them in Yemen, the Associated Press reports. The Saudi Interior Ministry and the state-run Saudi Press Agency each said the oil processing facility fires have been beginning after being “targeted by drones.”
The Abqaiq, Buqyaq oil facility, the world’s largest oil processing plant, is located less than 40 miles from Aramco’s Dhahran headquarters. Crude oil sent from the enormous Ghawar field is exported to among the world’s most extensive offshore oil loading facilities. Aramco estimates the Khurais oil field produces more than 1 million barrels of crude oil each day. The plant has greater than 20 billion barrels of oil in reserve. Buqyag is about 205 miles northeast of Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh.
Aramco lists its Abqaiq oil processing facility in Bugqyag as “the biggest oil stabilization plant in the world.”