Houthi drones target Shaybah oil field

Limited damage, no disruption of oil production or exports, asserts Saudi minister Al-Falih

This file photo shows Shaybah, the base for Saudi Aramco's Natural Gas Liquids plant and oil production in the surrounding Shaybah field in Saudi Arabia's remote Empty Quarter desert close to the United Arab Emirates. A Yemeni rebel attack sparked a fire in the Saudi gas plant on Saturday but caused no casualties or disruption to production, state-owned energy company Saudi Aramco said. — AFP

DHAHRAN — Yemen's Houthi militia on Saturday launched a terror attack on the Shaybah oil field in eastern Saudi Arabia causing a "limited" fire at a gas plant. The attack had no impact on oil production or exports, Khalid Bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, minister of energy, industry and mineral resources said in a statement.

Al-Falih further said that at 6.20 a.m. Saturday, one of the units of Shaybah NGL facility was subject to an explosive-carrying drone attack, resulting in a limited fire that was controlled. There were no casualties.

A statement by Saudi Aramco on its website said, “Saudi Aramco’s response team controlled a limited fire this morning at the Shaybah NGL facility. There were no injuries and no interruptions to Saudi Aramco’s oil operations.”

Meanwhile, Al-Falih stressed in his statement that oil production and exports have not been affected by the terrorist attack.

He asserted the Kingdom’s strong condemnation of the cowardly attack, stressing that this act of sabotage and terror is nothing but an extension of the acts that recently targeted the international oil supply chains, including the oil pipelines in the Kingdom, oil tankers in the Arabian Gulf and others.

This targeting of vital installations, is not targeting the Kingdom alone but the security of global energy supplies as well. Therefore, it is a threat to the global economy. This cowardly attack highlights once again the importance of the international community to repulse all terrorist quarters that carry out such acts of sabotage, including the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen.

Saudi Aramco’s response team controlled a limited fire this morning at the Shaybah NGL facility. "There were no injuries and no interruptions to Saudi Aramco’s oil operations", the company said.

Shaybah is more than 1,000 km (620 miles) away from Houthi-controlled territory in northwestern Yemen.

The field is located near the border with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia's main partner in the Sunni Arab coalition which has been battling the Houthis since 2015 in order to restore Yemen's ousted pro-Saudi government.

That government was driven from the capital Sanaa by the Houthis in late 2014. The war has been in military stalemate for years.

The Houthis have stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent months.

In May, the Houthis claimed responsibility for a drone attack on two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia that caused a small fire, but did not disrupt oil output or exports of crude and petroleum products.

Falih called the attack a "terror and sabotage act" in line with previous targeting of Saudi pipelines and tankers in the Gulf.

The Saudi minister was referring to attacks in May and June on oil tankers — blamed by Washington on Tehran, which denied responsibility.

The coalition has responded to the Houthi drone attacks with airstrikes on Houthi targets in Sanaa and other areas held by the group, which controls mostly large urban centers in Yemen.