Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group said it attacked two plants at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry on Saturday, knocking out more than half the kingdom’s output, in a move expected to send oil prices soaring and increase tension in the Middle East.
The attacks will cut the kingdom’s output by 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd), according to a statement from state-run oil company Saudi Aramco, or more than 5% of global oil supply, VOA reported.
The pre-dawn strikes followed earlier cross-border attacks on Saudi oil installations and on oil tankers in Persian Gulf waters, but these were the most brazen yet, temporarily crippling much of the nation’s production capacity. Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest exporter, shipping more than 7 million barrels of oil to global destinations every day, and for years has served as the supplier of last resort to markets.
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While the Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put the blame squarely on Iran, writing on Twitter that there was “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”
“Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” Pompeo said.