Saudi Ara­bia says oil fa­cil­ity at­tacks tar­get world sup­plies

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FOREIGN -

Riyadh (AFP): Saudi Ara­bia, the world’s top crude ex­porter, said Wednesday that at­tacks on two of its tankers and a ma­jor pipe­line tar­geted the se­cu­rity of global oil sup­plies.

Drone at­tacks claimed by Iranaligne­d Ye­meni rebels shut down one of the king­dom’s main oil pipe­lines on Tues­day, fur­ther ratch­et­ing up Gulf ten­sions af­ter the mys­te­ri­ous sab­o­tage of four ships, two of them Saudi tankers, on Sun­day.

“The cab­i­net af­firms that these acts of ter­ror­ism and sab­o­tage do not only tar­get the king­dom but also the se­cu­rity of world oil sup­plies and the global econ­omy,” it said af­ter a meet­ing chaired by King Sal­man in the Red Sea city of Jed­dah on Tues­day evening.

Tues­day’s drone strikes hit two pump­ing sta­tions on the king­dom’s east-west pipe­line, which can carry five mil­lion bar­rels of crude per day and pro­vides a strate­gic al­ter­na­tive route for Saudi ex­ports if the ship­ping lane from the Gulf through the Strait of Hor­muz is closed.

Ye­men’s Houthi rebels claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the strikes and said they were a re­sponse to “crimes” com­mit­ted by Saudi Ara­bia and its al­lies dur­ing more than four years of war in sup­port of the gov­ern­ment.

The Saudi tankers Al-mar­zo­qah and Am­jad suf­fered “sig­nif­i­cant dam­age” in as yet un­ex­plained sab­o­tage at­tacks in the Sea of Oman off the United Arab Emi­rates on Sun­day, En­ergy Min­is­ter Khalid al-falih said, but there were no ca­su­al­ties or any oil spill.

An Emi­rati of­fi­cial said three Western coun­tries - the US, France and Nor­way - would be part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ship at­tacks along with the UAE and Saudi Ara­bia.

The ships - which also in­cluded the Nor­we­gian tanker An­drea Vic­tory and an Emi­rati ves­sel - were docked in the sea off the coast of the emi­rate of Fu­jairah, the of­fi­cial added.

Nei­ther Saudi Ara­bia nor the UAE, both close al­lies of the United States, have yet given de­tails on the ex­act na­ture of those at­tacks, which come amid height­ened ten­sions be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Riyadh’s archri­val Tehran.

OPEC gi­ant Saudi Ara­bia cur­rently pumps around 10 mil­lion bar­rels per day (bpd) of which around seven mil­lion bpd are ex­ported.

At present, most Saudi ex­ports are loaded onto tankers at ter­mi­nals on the king­dom’s Gulf coast and must pass through the Strait of Hor­muz.

The Saudi cab­i­net called for “con­fronting ter­ror­ist en­ti­ties which carry out such sab­o­tage acts, in­clud­ing the Iran-backed Houthi mili­tias in Ye­men”.

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