A major crude oil pipeline in Riyadh province — Saudi Arabia — was struck drown by armed Yemeni drones and is temporarily shut down, the kingdom’s energy minister said Tuesday.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih called the move an “act of terrorism and sabotage”. The incident marks the second attack on the Saudi oil infrastructure in the last many days.
Saudi Aramco has halted oil pumping on the pipeline from the oil-rich Eastern Province to the Red Sea, while the damage was being evaluated and its two targeted pumping stations were being repaired.
“Saudi Aramco took precautionary measures and temporarily stopped operation of the pipeline, as it is evaluating the situation and working on restoring the operations of the affected pump station and the pipeline,” he said in a statement published by state news agency SPA.
The blaze was brought under control: damage was limited and oil production was not disrupted, al-Falih said.
The 1,200-kilometer (750-mile) pipeline, which reportedly has a capacity of at least five million barrels per day, carries crude oil from Saudi Arabia’s main eastern fields to the Red Sea port city of Yanbu in the west.
Houthi-run Masirah TV stated that the group had launched drone attacks on Saudi installations in response to what it called Saudi aggression and a blockade on Yemen, where a Saudi-led alliance has been at war with the Houthis and their allies since 2015.
Khalid al-Falih said the attack — along with the alleged incident involving two Saudi oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates over the weekend — not only targeted the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, “but also the security of global oil supplies and the global economy.”
The pipeline serves as an alternative export route for Saudi crude oil in the event of the strategically important Strait of Hormuz being blocked.
The US recently issued new sanctions targeting Iran’s oil exports, and has deployed an aircraft carrier strike group to the region.