U.S. Official Accuses Iran Of Drone Attack That Knocked Out Half Of Saudi Arabia’s Oil Production

U.S. Official Accuses Iran Of Drone Attack That Knocked Out Half Of Saudi Arabia's Oil Production
Planet Labs Inc/Handout via REUTERS

A coordinated drone attack by 10 drones has knocked out half of Saudi Arabia’s oil supply. The drone attack on Saturday targeted Abqaiq, the world’s biggest oil processing facility, and the Khuaru oil field, which produces around one million barrels of crude oil a day. Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil firm, said that around half of Saudi Arabia’s daily oil production had been suspended as a result, the WSJ reported.

The Trump administration blamed Iran for the strikes that appeared to have been executed with cruise missiles, casting doubt on claims made by the Yemeni Houthi group that drones were used. Authorities in Tehran denied the accusation.

Immediately after the attacks, a spokesman for the Iran-backed Houthi group in Yemen claimed responsibility. Yahia Sarie said 10 drones had been launched and warned that more attacks would take place. On Twitter, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was no evidence the attack came from Yemen and instead blamed Iran directly. Iran has rejected the accusation.

The senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there were 19 points of impact in the attack on Saudi facilities. The damage signaled the attack came from the west-northwest direction of Iraq and Iran and not south from Yemen.

Open the link to view: Satellite Images Show That The Scale Scale Of Destruction At Saudi Oil Field Hit By Houthis Drone Attacks

Saudi officials indicated that evidence suggested cruise missiles were used in the attack, the official said.

“There’s no doubt that Iran is responsible for this. No matter how you slice it, there’s no escaping it. There’s no other candidate,” the official told reporters, according to Reuters.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran shortly after the attacks were reported, saying on Twitter that it was “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.” He also called on other nations to publicly condemn Iran for the attacks, as the US will work to make sure “Iran is held accountable for its aggression.”

The kingdom produces 9.8 million barrels of crude oil a day. The Khurais oilfield, the area that was identified in the strike, produces about 1% of the world’s oil and Abqaiq is the company’s largest facility that can process 7% of the global supply, according to BBC business correspondent Katie Prescott.

The latest incident has apparently re-ignited US-Iran tensions after a string of troubling incidents in recent months nearly triggered armed conflict between the two countries. Iran was previously blamed by Saudi Arabia and the US for attacks on two oil tankers in June and July, which authorities in Tehran denied.

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