Drone attacks on crucial Saudi Arabian oil facilities, which are among the world’s most important energy production centers, have caused disruptions on around half of the country’s oil capacity, or 5% of the worldwide oil supply.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels took responsibility for the attacks, noting that 10 drones aimed Saudi Aramco’s oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais.
However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the attacks, and mentioned that there was “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”
In addition, CNN reported that initial indications point out that the attacks possibly originated from Iraq, adding that Iran has important influence in southern Iraq.
For Iran’s foreign ministry, a spokesperson denied the accusation that Tehran was behind the attacks, explaining that “blind accusations and inappropriate comments in a diplomatic context are incomprehensible and meaningless.” Iraq also rejected the accusations that its territory was used to launch the attacks.
Due to the attacks, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman informed that 5.7 million barrels a day of crude oil and gas production have been impacted. He added that Aramco is now trying to recover the lost quantities of oil.
Moreover, two facilities were impacted by fires, which are now under control, while authorities are also investigating.
Saudi Arabia is the largest oil exporter, but it has reduced production of crude and other energy products, under an OPEC effort to increase prices. As of now, Saudi Arabia is responsible for producing about 10% of the total global supply.
Finally, on September 13 oil prices decreased, with Brent crude, the global price benchmark falling 0.3% to nearly $60.22 per barrel.
This incident comes after news that the presence of the UK warships in the Strait of Hormuz has stabilized the commercial shipping operations, following the tensions in the area after Iran seized a UK-flagged tanker in the region, a British navy official reported to Reuters.
The first incident that spiked the tensions, was in May, when the UAE said that four vessels were sabotaged at the Fujairah port.
In June, the shipping industry was present in an additional attack that took place in the Gulf of Oman against two vessels. The IMO Secretary General, the International Chamber of Shipping and INTERTANKO expressed their concerns, noting that this is an intolerable situation threatening the lives of seafarers, the environment and the world economy.
Here you can see a timeline of the events that followed.