Middle East

Saudi Arabia says oil stations attacked by explosive-laden drones

Oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Source: AAP

Saudi Arabia says oil infrastructure sites have been targeted in the kingdom and at least one of the attacks was carried out by drones.

Saudi Araba says drones have attacked one of its oil pipelines as other assaults targeted energy infrastructure elsewhere in the kingdom, shortly after Yemen's rebels claimed a coordinated drone attack on the Sunni power.

The assaults marked the latest incidents challenging Mideast security after the alleged sabotage of oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates earlier this week amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran.

Yemen's Houthi rebels, whom Saudi Arabia has been fighting against since March 2015, said they launched a series of drone attacks on the kingdom, across the border from Yemen.

An oil field near Riyadh.
An oil field near Riyadh.
AAP

The spokesman of the rebels, Mohammed Abdel-Salam, told The Associated Press: "This is a message to Saudi Arabia, stop your aggression."

"Our goal is to respond to the crimes they are committing everyday against the Yemeni people," he added.

In a statement carried on the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said that drones attacked a petroleum pumping station supplying a pipeline running from its oil-rich Eastern Province to the Yanbu Port on the Red Sea.

A fire broke out and firefighters later brought it under control, though the state-run Saudi Aramco stopped pumping oil through the pipeline.

Khalid al-Falih speaks to the media.
Khalid al-Falih speaks to the media.
AAP

The kingdom's state security body also said two petroleum pumping stations in the greater region of Riyadh, the landlocked capital, were targeted at the same time.

The statement described it as a "limited targeting" of petroleum stations in areas al-Duadmi and Afif in the Riyadh region, without elaborating.

Al-Falih called the attack "cowardly," saying that recent sabotage acts against the kingdom's vital installations not only target Saudi Arabia, but the safety of the world's energy supply and global economy.

He said this reaffirms the need of the international community to confront the activities of groups like the Houthis. He also promised the production and export of Saudi oil would not be interrupted.

0:00
Maritime analyst on Saudi tanker sabotage claims
Maritime analyst on Saudi tanker sabotage claims

The attack on Saudi oil targets comes after four oil tankers anchored in the Mideast were damaged by what Gulf officials described as sabotage, though satellite images obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday showed no major visible damage to the vessels.

Details of the alleged sabotage to two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati oil tanker on Sunday remained unclear, and Gulf officials have declined to say who they suspected was responsible.

America is deploying an aircraft carrier, USS Abraham Lincoln, and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged, still-unspecified threats from Tehran.

Tensions in the region have risen since Trump withdrew America from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, and restored US sanctions that have pushed Iran's economy into crisis.

Last week, Iran warned it would begin enriching uranium at higher levels in 60 days if world powers failed to negotiate new terms for the deal.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch