Monday, 21 October, 2019

US Senator calls for attacks on Iranian oil facilities

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a family The Latest: Saudi Arabia says drones attacked oil facilities
Patty Aguilar | 19 September, 2019, 14:32

Saudi Arabia said on Saturday it will suspend oil production at two major oil facilities after drone attacks by Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. The Houthis launched drone attacks targeting Saudi Arabia's crucial East-West Pipeline in May.

The world's largest oil refinery, the Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq refinery, an oil processing facility was targeted along with the Khurais oil field, also operated by Aramco.

Following the attack, Pompeo took to Twitter, saying: "Tehran is behind almost 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while (President Hassan) Rouhani and (Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad) Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy".

"There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen", Pompeo added.

Tensions in the Gulf have soared since May, with US President Donald Trump calling off air strikes against Iran at the last minute in June after it downed a US drone.

"The United States strongly condemns today's attack on critical energy infrastructure, Deere said".

He said that while Iran's leaders pretend to engage in diplomacy, Tehran has launched almost 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia.

While no group immediately claimed today's attacks, suspicion immediately fell on Yemen's Houthi rebels. Tehran denies the charge.

United Nations investigators said the Houthis' new UAV-X drone likely has a range of up to 1,500 kilometers (930 miles).

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"The global economy can ill afford higher oil prices at a time of economic slowdown", Ole Hansen, head of commodities strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said in an emailed response to questions.

Smoke is seen following a fire at Aramco facility in the eastern city of Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, on September 14, 2019.

The drone strikes on the world's biggest oil exporter come as state oil giant Saudi Aramco had accelerated plans for an initial public offering to as early as this year.

It has disrupted about half of the Kingdom's oil capacity, or 5 per cent of the daily global oil supply. "The risk of tit-for-tat regional escalation that pushes oil prices even higher has just gone up significantly". It also pumps westwards across the kingdom to Red Sea export terminals.

Khurais, 190 km further southwest, contains the country's second largest oilfield.

Threatening civilian areas and commercial infrastructure is unsafe, provocative and completely unacceptable.

Aramco's CEO said in a statement that the situation had been brought under control. Hours after the Houthi strike in Abqaiq, a witness said fire and smoke were still visible.

Regional tensions have escalated after Washington quit an global nuclear deal and extended sanctions on Iran.

The incident will likely lead to a further escalation in the multi-layered conflict in Yemen, which has left tens of thousands dead and brought millions of Yemenis to the brink of starvation. The conflict is widely seen as a proxy war between the Saudis and Iran, which has been backing the Houthis.

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