Abqaiq–Khurais attack on Saudi Arabia Oil Fields

On 14th September 2019 a state owned Saudi Araco oil processing unit at Khurais and Abqaiq was attacked by a drone. The attack was claimed by the Houthi movement in Yemen. They assert that the attacks are their right in retaliation for the air strikes  and other attacks in Yemen. The frequency of Houthi attacks have increased in 2019. It includes attack on Saudi – Arabia airport as well.

Both the facilities were under severe fires and the fires were put out after several hours. The facilities represent Saudi Arabia’s 5% of oil production. This caused destabilization in the market.

The Abqaiq facility is the largest crude oil stabilization plant in the world. It converts sour crude oil into sweet crude oil. Sour crude oil is the oil that contains large amounts of sulfur as impurities. Sweet crude oil is the oil that is free of sulfur impurities.

Effects of the attack

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of oil. It accounts to 16% of world oil supply. It produces about 9.8 million barrels of petroleum per day. It has now reduced to 4 million barrels per day.

US claims Iran behind the attack

The US believe that the attacks originated in Iran. However, Iran denied the accusations. The Royal Saudi Air Force Colonel asserted on 16th September that the drones appear to be based on Iran. On 18th September, al – Malki displayed the debris of drones used in the attack. They were delta wing style craft of Iranian manufacture. US now claims that it had identified the location in Southern Iran from where the drones and cruise missiles were launched.

International views on the attack

Iranian President is supportive of the Houthis movement. While speaking about the attack, he stated that the yemeni people were exercising their legitimate right of defense. Turkish President questioned the root cause of the conflict. The French remains neutral and said it is yet to find out the place of origin of the drones. The UN secretary condemned the attacks. Arab league and the NATO condemned the attacks as well. Japan is against the accusations on Iran. It said Japanese satellites have not found any clues showing Iranian involvement in the attack. South Korea had condemned the attack. Other countries like UK and UAE remained silent on the attack.




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