Tuesday 21 May 2019
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The News - 5 days ago

S Arabia says oil facility attacks target world supplies

RIYADH/ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia, the world s top crude exporter, said Wednesday that attacks on two of its tankers and a major pipeline targeted the security of global oil supplies.Drone attacks claimed by Yemeni rebels shut down one of the kingdom s main oil pipelines on Tuesday, further ratcheting up Gulf tensions after the mysterious sabotage of four ships, two of them Saudi tankers, on Sunday. The cabinet affirms that these acts of terrorism and sabotage do not only target the kingdom but also the security of world oil supplies and the global economy, it said after a meeting chaired by King Salman in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on Tuesday evening.Tuesday s drone strikes hit two pumping stations on the kingdom s east-west pipeline, which can carry five million barrels of crude per day and provides a strategic alternative route for Saudi exports if the shipping lane from the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz is closed. Yemen s Huthi rebels claimed responsibility for the strikes and said they were a response to crimes committed by Saudi Arabia and its allies during more than four years of war in support of the government.The Saudi tankers Al-Marzoqah and Amjad suffered significant damage in as yet unexplained sabotage attacks in the Sea of Oman off the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said, but there were no casualties or any oil spill.An Emirati official said three Western countries -- the US, France and Norway -- would be part of an investigation into the ship attacks along with the UAE and Saudi Arabia.The ships -- which also included the Norwegian tanker Andrea Victory and an Emirati vessel -- were docked in the sea off the coast of the emirate of Fujairah, the official added.Neither Saudi Arabia nor the UAE, both close allies of the United States, have yet given details on the exact nature of those attacks, which come amid heightened tensions between Washington and Riyadh s arch-rival Tehran.OPEC giant Saudi Arabia currently pumps around 10 million barrels per day (bpd) of which around seven million bpd are exported.The Saudi cabinet called for confronting terrorist entities which carry out such sabotage acts, including the Huthi militias in Yemen .Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz in case of a military confrontation with the United States.The US has already strengthened its military presence in the region, including deploying a number of strategic B-52 bombers in response to alleged Iranian threats.The International Energy Agency said Wednesday that Iranian crude oil output fell in April to 2.6 million barrels per day, the lowest level in over five years, and could tumble in May to levels not seen since the 1980s war with Iraq.

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