Two oil pumping stations serving a major East-West oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia faced a attack by armed drones on Tuesday, with the damage currently being assessed, the minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid bin Al-Falih has said.
The pipeline transports oil from the oilfields in the Eastern Province to the port of Yanbu on the west coast.
According to Al Falih, the two stations – located in the Dawadmi and Afif governorates in Riyadh – were attacked between 6am and 6.30am on Tuesday, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The attack resulted in a fire at station No. 8, which was controlled after causing “limited damage”, the report said. The fire has since been contained.
Saudi Aramco has taken all necessary measures and temporarily shut down the pipeline to evaluate its condition, the report said. The company is working on restoring the pump station prior to resuming operations.
Houthi-run Masirah TV earlier said they had carried out a “big military operation” using drones on “vital” Saudi installations in response to “continued aggression and blockade” on Yemen.
The targets were not specified and it is not clear whether those attacks were the same as the ones revealed by Saudi in Riyadh.
However, Al-Falih stressed that the production and exports of Saudi crude oil and products will continue “without interruption”.
The attacks come after Saudi confirmed that two of its oil tankers were among the four vessels attacked off the coast of the UAE on Sunday.
The UAE did not describe the nature of the attack or say who was behind it.
“The kingdom condemns this cowardly attack. This act of terrorism and the recent act of sabotage in the Arabian Gulf against vital installations not only target the kingdom, but also the safety of the world’s energy supply and the global economy,” the report said.
“It reaffirms the importance of addressing all the terrorist groups carrying out such acts of sabotage, including the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen.”