Drones target major Saudi Arabia oil facility, trigger fires

Drone attacks triggered fires at two major facilities run by Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil giant. The fire were under control now.

The attacks were at the facilities in Abqaiq – home to the company’s largest oil processing plant – and Khurais.

Interior ministry spokesperson speaking with Saudi Press Agency said, “At 4.00am the industrial security teams of Aramco started dealing with fires at two of its facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais as a result of drones.”

The ministry did not identify the source of the attack and said investigations were ongoing. It did not specify  if there were any casualties or whether operations at the two facilities had been affected.

Online videos showed smoke rising above the company’s facility in Abqaiq and something like a gunfire could be heard in the background.

Over the recent months Yemen’s Houthi rebels have targeted ¬†Saudi air bases and other facilities in what they say is retaliation for a years-long bombing campaign by a Saudi-led military coalition on areas held by the Houthis.

The Houthis has not yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Last month, an attack claimed by the Houthis sparked a fire at Aramco’s Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility but no casualties were reported by the company.

Abqaiq oil processing facility is some 37 miles southwest of Dhahran in the kingdom’s Eastern Province, and is “the largest crude oil stabilisation plant in the world”.

The facility processes sour crude oil into sweet crude, then later transports onto transhipment points on the Gulf and the Red Sea. Estimates suggest it can process up to seven million barrels of crude oil a day.

In 2006, al-Qaeda-claimed suicide bombers tried to target the plant but failed to attack the oil complex.

Whereas the Khurais complex is located about 160km (99 miles) from the capital, Riyadh. It has estimated reserves of more than 20bn barrels of oil.

Source : Various